In an intriguing post on Law & The Environment, Seth Jaffe notes that, in part because of the ongoing sequester and budgetary concerns, EPA’s future enforcement efforts may rely more heavily on citizen groups. Quoting Cynthia Giles,  the Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, as saying that “we have far too much noncompliance, widespread noncompliance in some of the largest sectors,” and that “EPA is looking for new ways to catch violations as they occur,” Jaffe notes that the Agency’s first overture to more citizen group involvement may be seen in its recent update to ECHO, its online enforcement database.
Continue Reading EPA’s Future Enforcement Strategy: More Citizen Suits?

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

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