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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20125
Nos. 16-1413, (D.C. Cir., 07/20/2018)

The D.C. Circuit denied environmental groups' petition to review a 2016 rule that EPA uses to determine whether an event caused by recurring activity is "exceptional" and thus exempt from a state's emissions report. The groups argued that EPA misread the definition of "natural event" under the exceptional-event provision in the rule by attributing emissions to natural causes when they were also caused by regulated human activity. But the court disagreed, concluding that the Agency's definition of "natural event" passes muster under the Chevron doctrine, which says courts should defer to reasonable agency interpretations when a statute is silent or ambiguous on a topic. Because the rule preserves the CAA's distinct treatment of natural events, the court denied the groups' petition for review.