The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Court Denies a Motion, but the Battle Rages On

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 13, 2010

A federal appeals court has rejected a motion for a partial stay of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations, clearing the way for the rules to take effect on Jan. 2.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the motions filed by coalitions of industry groups and the State of Texas failed to prove that the harm likely to be caused by the regulations is "certain," or that it will be caused directly by the regulations. API is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) coalition, which moved for a partial stay of the regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources.

NAM stood behind the coalition's arguments. In a statement, Quentin Riegel, NAM's vice president for litigation and deputy chief counsel, said:

"We will continue our efforts to stop the EPA from pursuing its job-destroying agenda. We are confident that the merits of the litigation are strong and we will move forward aggressively.

"Manufacturers are disappointed in the court's decision today to deny our motion of stay against EPA. We continue to believe that our arguments presented a compelling case for an issuance of stay. The EPA's agenda places unnecessary burdens on manufacturers, drives up energy costs and imposes even more uncertainty on the nation's job creators."

Under the regulations, ultimately more than 6 million facilities ranging from factories to farms could be required to get state-issued permits to emit GHG emissions. To receive the permits, they have to prove that they are using the best available control technology (BACT) to control GHG emissions, including carbon dioxide which is produced naturally through exhaling and energy combustion.

Business and industry groups say permits could be required for virtually any enterprise to expand or even continue operations, and could cause business owners to think twice about growing their businesses, starting new construction projects, or hiring new workers. It's clear the new regulations could have dire consequences for a struggling economy.

The court's decision on "irreparable harm" does not signal the end of this case. Rather, the court asked the parties to propose a format for proceeding with arguments on the merits by Jan. 3, 2011.