Ken Paxton

Monday, June 6, 2011

Texas Files Challenge to EPA's "Tailpipe Rule" Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

AUSTIN On behalf of nine states, the State of Texas has filed the opening brief in its challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tailpipe Rule, which attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The brief explains that the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations violate the federal Clean Air Act and urges the court to strike down the unlawful Tailpipe Rule.

The States’ brief, which was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, asserts that the EPA’s Tailpipe Rule is arbitrary and failed to comply with the Clean Air Act. EPA refused to consider the enormous costs that its regulations impose on businesses and consumers despite provisions of the Clean Air Act that require the Administration to consider these costs. According to the States’ brief, the EPA also violated the Clean Air Act by exceeding its statutory authority when it issued the Tailpipe Rule. Under federal law, the EPA is only permitted to regulate air pollutants that pose a danger to human beings’ health and welfare. As the State previously argued in its May 23 brief challenging the EPA’s greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding, the Administration’s determination that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health and welfare is both incorrect and not authorized by law.

Regulations in the EPA’s Tailpipe Rule limit greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. According to the States’ brief, the Tailpipe Rule triggers "one of the most expansive and onerous regulatory programs" in U.S. history. The Tailpipe Rule impermissibly expands the authority granted to the EPA under federal law by imposing massive new regulations on schools, houses, churches and small businesses all across America. Before the EPA attempted to dramatically expand its authority via the Tailpipe Rule, the Clean Air Act’s expensive and onerous air permitting regime primarily applied to large industrial facilities. As former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson predicted, the Tailpipe Rule results in an "unprecedented expansion of EPA authority" and has "a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch[es] every household in the land."

The State of Texas’ legal action against the EPA reflects the latest in an ongoing effort to oppose the EPA’s unprecedented and unlawful attempt to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. In December 2009, the EPA finalized an Endangerment Finding concluding that greenhouse gases pose a danger to human welfare. The Endangerment Finding was the first rule in a series of rules including the Triggering, Tailpipe and Tailoring Rules issued by the EPA that coerce states into enacting their own greenhouse gas regulations. In addition to being illegal, these regulations threaten to destroy American jobs and derail the nation’s economic recovery by imposing burdensome and unnecessary new costs on countless employers in every sector of the economy. Texas is currently challenging all six of the EPA’s unlawful greenhouse gas regulations in federal court.