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Federal appeals court upholds EPA sulfur dioxide regulations

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Friday upheld [opinion, PDF] Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] regulations on sulfur dioxide emissions that restrict levels to 75 parts per billion over a one-hour period. The lawsuit, brought by North Dakota, Texas and three other states, challenged 75 Fed. Reg. 35520 [text, PDF] as unconstitutional because they claimed that the EPA violated notice-and-comment rulemaking provisions by not giving any indication in its proposed rule that it was considering changing its method of attaining sulfur dioxide standards and that the maximum level allowed was "arbitrary" because it is lower than necessary to protect the public from harm. The appeals court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to decide the rulemaking issue but found that the EPA's maximum level was not unconstitutionally arbitrary. The court ruled that the EPA acted within its power in determining that the regulation was necessary to protect those with asthmatic problems who are more sensitive to sulfur dioxide pollution and can be harmed more severely.

Federal courts have upheld multiple regulations made by the EPA that have been challenged by states and corporations. Earlier this week, the DC Circuit dismissed [JURIST report] a challenge to nitrogen dioxide regulations brought by the American Petroleum Institute [official website] because plaintiffs failed to show that the regulation was arbitrary. Last month the same court also upheld [JURIST report] the EPA's findings that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants were dangerous to the public health and welfare. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] last year also upheld [JURIST report] EPA regulations on motor vehicle emissions in California.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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