Supreme Court to Hear Industry Challenge to New EPA Regulations

February 20th, 2014 by DWM Magazine

The general counsel for the Glass Association of North America (GANA) says he’s “guardedly optimistic” that the Supreme Court will favorably view the challenge by GANA and other members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to the proposed new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards dealing with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

NAM will be heading a consortium of various associations when it begins oral arguments before the nation’s highest court on February 24. The Supreme Court isn’t expected to render a decision until June, but Kim Mann, the Washington, D.C.-based attorney representing GANA, says he expects the outcome to be a close one.

“There is no way to predict how the court will decide this very complex issue,” says Mann. “It should be a close decision–5-4 sounds about right–but GANA and its fellow industry co-petitioners are, as lawyers often say, ‘guardedly optimistic.’”

NAM is expected to argue that the Clean Air Act does not authorize EPA to regulate GHG emissions from stationary sources, such as factories and plants, meaning that plants and factories should not be subjected to the state permitting regimes when companies construct or substantially rebuild or expand those facilities, says Mann.

The court announced in October that it would hear the case.

The announcement came as welcome news to both NAM and GANA officials, who have long decried the proposed EPA measures as government overreach that would prove both costly and threatening to their industries’ global competitiveness.

“No matter what the court decides,” Mann says, “it is likely not the end of the battle over EPA regulations of GHG. What form those future battles take will depend primarily upon what exactly the Supreme Court says in its opinion deciding this case.”

NAM officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.

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