This week, EPA finalized its Tier 3 emission standards designed to reduce air pollution from passenger cars and trucks. The rule establishes new vehicle emissions standards and reduces the sulfur content of gasoline by two-thirds, with an implementation date of 2017. According to EPA, the new standards will help to reduce tailpipe and evaporative emissions from passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles and some heavy-duty vehicles. The gasoline sulfur standard in particular will make emission control systems more effective for both existing and new vehicles, and will enable manufacturers to meet the more stringent vehicle emissions standards, since removing sulfur allows the vehicle’s catalyst to work more efficiently. The EPA says that the more stringent tailpipe emission standards and reduced sulfur
Continue Reading EPA Finalizes Emissions Standards for Vehicles and Fuel

Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to six petitions brought by state and industry groups challenging the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations for stationary sources. The petitions are seen by many as a sequel to Massachusetts  v. EPA, a 2007 Supreme Court decision directing EPA to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions endangered public health or welfare and, if so, to regulate them accordingly. Two years later, EPA made what is known as an “endangerment finding” concerning the risks posed by greenhouse gases, thereby paving the way for it to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from both vehicles and stationary sources.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Agrees to Hear GHG Emissions Sequel to Mass v. EPA

Exxon Mobil Corp. must pay up, so said a three judge panel of the Second Circuit late last month. Opening the door to a flood of litigation concerning the gasoline additive MTBE, the Second Circuit affirmed a jury verdict award of $105 million against Exxon Mobil, and in favor of New York City, following an 11-week “bellwether” trial in the Southern District of New York.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms Exxon Judgment, Rejects Clean Air Act Preemption Argument

In 2007, the United States Supreme Court directed EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”) as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.   Since that time, EPA has published an Endangerment Finding and issued a series of GHG-related rules and regulations.  Under the Tailpipe Rule, for example, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established motor-vehicle emission standards for GHGs.  Next, with the Timing Rule, EPA addressed major stationary emitters through the Title V and PSD provisions of the Clean Air Act, and staggered the applicability of these programs to the largest emitters first under the Tailoring Rule.   Generally, EPA’s GHG regulatory programs thus far have focused on carbon dioxide emissions from human-induced combustion of fossil fuel sources, like coal-fired power plants, refineries, and cement production facilities.
Continue Reading Regulation of Biogenic GHG Emissions, From Manure Management And Ethanol Sources, Cannot Be Delayed, Says D.C. Circuit