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Published by: xebra on Jan 31, 2013
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Massachussetts v. EPA 1. Citation: Massachussetts v. EPA, 549 U. S. ____ (2007) 2.

Facts: A number of States and environmental organizations petitioned EPA asking it to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases because climate change in form of global warming was a potential problem which could endanger the public health. In response, EPA said that it lacked the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses because these gases were not pollutants. EPA also stated that CO2 doesn't make people sick, and makes plants grow, so it not a pollutant. EPA further argued that even if they did have the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, it was within EPA's discretion to choose which pollutants to regulate, and they chose not to. EPA felt that the laws designed to improve fuel economy were good enough. The States (led by Massachusetts) sued the EPA to force it to begin regulating greenhouse gases. Massachusetts argued that EPA does have authority over global warming and greenhouse gases because of the broad wording of the Statute; EPA's decision not to regulate greenhouse gases exceeded the scope of its discretion under the law; and EPA violated the Clean Air Act by not giving it effect. EPA counter argued that the petitioners did not have standing to sue EPA because they could not show that they had been harmed by greenhouse gases. The Appellate Court affirmed EPA's decision to not regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Massachusetts appealed the denial of the petition to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and a divided panel ruled in favor of EPA. 3. Issue: 1. Whether the petitioners had legal standing to file the law suit? 2. Does the Clean Air Act give the EPA statutory authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases? 3. Whether the EPA’s reasons to decline to issue emission standards for motor vehicles consistent with section § 202(a)(1) of Clean Air Act statute? 4. Ruling: Yes. No and Yes. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed. 5. a. Rules of Law: Section 202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act provides “The Administrator shall by regulation prescribe (and from time to time revise) in accordance with the provisions of this section, standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” The Act defines "air pollutant" as ""any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical, biological, radioactive . . . substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air." b. Rationale: First, the petitioners were found to have standing because, as a sovereign they had a special duty to protect their citizens. Justice Stevens reasoned that the states had a particularly strong interest in the standing analysis. Second, the Court held that the Clean Air Act gives the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. "Greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act’s capacious definition of air pollutant." Finally, the Court also found that EPA's rationale for not regulating greenhouse gases was inadequate. the Court remanded the case to the EPA, requiring the agency to review its contention that it has discretion in regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The Court found the current rationale for not regulating to be inadequate, and required the agency to articulate a reasonable basis in order to avoid regulation.

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