Appeals court gives EPA split decision on ozone rules

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 11, 2013 

A key appeals court has given the Environmental Protection Agency somewhat of a split decision in a complicated challenge to the agency's ozone rules.

In a 48-page decision Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected much of the double-barreled challenges filed by competing parties.  The three-judge panel, though, did remand the EPA's so-called "secondary ozone" standard.

Here's how the court teed up the set of challenges to the National Air Ambient Quality Standards:

"One set of petitioners—comprising several states, the District of Columbia, New York City, and a number of environmental and public health groups—thinks the primary and secondary NAAQS are not protective enough, while the other set—comprising the state of Mississippi and several industry groups—thinks they are too protective."

The court reasoned, in part, that agency regulators are entitled to a fair amount of deference in revising air quality standards, noting:

"Reasonable people might disagree with EPA’s interpretations of the scientific evidence, but any such disagreements must come from those who are qualified to evaluate the science, not us. We are satisfied that EPA’s interpretations are permissible, and that is enough."



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