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Mack Trucks, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20133
Nos. 12-1077, (D.C. Cir., 06/12/2012)

The D.C. Circuit vacated an interim final rule issued by EPA that would allow manufacturers of heavy-duty diesel engines to pay nonconformance penalties in exchange for the right to sell engines that fail to satisfy nitrogen oxide requirements. In 2001, EPA issued a rule requiring a 95% reduction in the emissions of nitrogen oxide from heavy-duty diesel engines. Most manufacturers have met this requirement through the use of "selective catalytic reduction" technology. But one manufacturer took a different approach, opting for a form of "exhaust gas recirculation" that proved less successful. EPA promulgated an interim final rule to make nonconformance penalties available to that manufacturer, but it did so without providing formal notice or an opportunity for comment. Instead, it invoked the "good cause" exception to the APA. But none of the statutory criteria for good cause are satisfied here. The rule does not stave off any imminent threat to the environment, safety, or national security. Nor is this a ministerial rule that is inconsequential to industry and the public. Since EPA lacked good cause to dispense with required notice-and-comment procedures, the rule must be vacated.