A U.S. Court of Appeals July 15 ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was within its authority to reject petition from anti-growth groups calling for the regulation of so-called “greenhouse gasses” from new motor vehicles. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) was a party to the case with a group of industry interveners who filed a brief supporting the EPA’s decision not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
If enacted, any new regulations would likely have resulted in increased process for motor vehicles and construction equipment as well as restrictive standards which, if not met, could place states and localities in jeopardy of losing federal transportation funding.
At issue was a 1999 petition filed by a number of environmental organizations seeking to compel the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicle engines. In September 2003, the EPA denied the petition based on a thorough review of the Clean Air Act, stating that it “can not and should not” regulate “greenhouse gas” emissions. The coalition of the environmental groups which originally brought the petition appealed the EPA’s decisions to the Court of Appeals.
The July 15 ruling was particularly significant because it is the highest federal court to speak to the issue of greenhouse gas regulation. The court ruled the EPA is not required to regulate greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act. The decision also noted there is “scientific uncertainty” on the issue of climate change.
This is the second major ARTBA victory on behalf of the transportation construction industry in recent weeks. At the end of June, the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement with opponents of a Las Vegas, Nev., highway improvement project that will allow construction work on U.S. 95 to move forward later this year. ARTBA first joined the case in October 2004.
Since 1993, ARTBA’s involvement in federal regulatory issues and litigation has allowed nearly $50 billion in approved – yet challenged – state, regional and local transportation projects and plans to move forward.