EPA Revisits Clean Air Act Interpretation

Wed Sep 26th, On Environmental Law, by

In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit) vacated a 2015 rule issued by the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intended to target greenhouse gas emissions by forcing companies that use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in products like spray cans and refrigerators to swap them out for an EPA-approved alternative.  The D.C. Circuit stated that, while Section 612 of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) requires manufacturers to replace ozone-depleting substances with safe substitutes, HFCs in certain products do not deplete ozone, and for that reason, the EPA did not have the authority to enforce the replacement provision of the rule.  The attorneys general of seventeen states and the District of Columbia, along with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.  The Trump Administration’s EPA also called for the Supreme Court to ignore the petition, reversing course from the prior administration.

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