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Murray Energy Corp. v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20143
Nos. No. 15-1385, (D.C. Cir., 08/23/2019)

The D.C. Circuit upheld EPA's 2015 revisions to the primary NAAQS for ground-level ozone to protect public health, but remanded to the Agency to reconsider its revisions to the secondary ozone NAAQS that protects public welfare. Industry groups and several states argued that EPA failed to provide a reasoned explanation for departing from the previous primary standard. The court disagreed, finding that EPA's consideration of the entire body of scientific evidence available adequately explained why, on the record before the Agency, the revised standard was necessary to protect public health. As for the secondary standard, public health and environmental groups argued that EPA arbitrarily used a three-year average rather than a single-year, cumulative measurement of ozone exposure as a benchmark to gauge the protectiveness of its revised standard, and unreasonably failed to identify a level of air quality necessary to protect the public welfare against adverse effects from visible leaf injury. The court found the Agency failed to justify both of these decisions in setting the revised secondary standard. It therefore upheld the revised primary standard, and remanded to EPA for reconsideration of the secondary standard.