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Delta Construction Co. v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20081
Nos. 11-1428, 13-1076, (D.C. Cir., 04/24/2015)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed petitions challenging EPA's and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) coordinated rules governing the greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy of cars and trucks. One group of petitioners—businesses, associations, and individuals located in California—challenged EPA's car rule. They argued that, as purchasers of new vehicles, they are harmed by the increased up-front costs attributable to the greenhouse gas emission standards. But the California petitioners lack standing because they failed to identify a discrete injury that could be remedied by a favorable decision of the court. Because a separate action—NHTSA’s standards—independently causes the same alleged harm as the challenged EPA action, the California petitioners are unable to establish the “necessary causal connection” between the EPA standards and their purported injury. Another petitioner—a business that promotes the use of vegetable oil in place of traditional diesel fuel—argued that the truck rule makes its products economically infeasible, and sought reconsideration of both the EPA and NHTSA components of that rule. After the agencies denied its request, it sought review from the D.C. Circuit. But the court lacks original jurisdiction over the business' claim against NHTSA. Rather, judicial review of NHTSA’s denial of a petition for rulemaking must begin in district courts. And while the court has original jurisdiction over the business' challenge to EPA's portion of the truck rule, the business does not fall within the zone of interests protected by the CAA provisions governing emissions standards for motor vehicles. The mere fact that the business' financial interests currently appear to align with the goals of the CAA is not sufficient to allow it to challenge EPA's emissions standards.