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EPA's Carbon Pollution Standards Upheld

Today has turned into a better day for our planet—and our lungs. In a landmark decision, the D.C. federal appeals court upheld every single one of the EPA’s carbon pollution limits. These EPA protections are in response to the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, and are important parts of the agency’s efforts to curb such pollution under the Clean Air Act.

The rules went to oral argument in February after more than 60 lawsuits by companies including Massey Energy Co.; business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and states such as Texas and Virginia pushed the court to overthrow the “arbitrary” and “capricious” standards.

However, today the three-judge panel of the D.C. court of appeals ruled that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act was “unambiguously correct.” The court also concluded that opponents don’t have the legal right to challenge the timing and tailoring rules.

“In the end, petitioners are asking us to re-weigh the scientific evidence before EPA and reach our own conclusion,” the panel wrote in the 82-page opinion, according to Businessweek. “This is not our role.”

Earthjustice attorney Howard Fox is co-counsel for Environmental Defense Fund and is part of a team of attorneys who defended EPA’s health and environmental protections. In a statement he said:

Scientists recognize the strong link between burning fossil fuels like coal and global warming. Among many impacts, rising temperatures worsen smog that triggers asthma attacks and other lung ailments. We hope this decision reinforces the EPA’s resolve to move forward with standards to rein-in carbon pollution and other harmful gases from new and existing sources.