EPA asks court to vacate “Significant Contribution Rule” that could prevent emission limits on polluting industries

April 4, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 17th asked a court to throw out a Trump administration rule that could prevent setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries according to a March 17, 2021 report from The Hill.

The agency said in a court filing that under the previous administration, it “failed to provide any public notice or opportunity for comment on the central elements of the Significant Contribution Rule, rendering it unlawful.”

It also said that it did not undertake significant analyses that are relevant to the rule’s “underlying legal and factual questions.”

The rule, finalized just before President Trump left office, only allows greenhouse gas limits on power plants, exempting industries such as oil and gas production and iron and steel manufacturing.

The regulation says that only sectors whose pollution makes up more than 3 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions are “considered to contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution.” Calculations from the EPA determined that 2.5 and 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the oil and gas sector.

Environmental and public health groups, as well as several states, sued the EPA over the rule, which critics have said is arbitrary and would give a free pass to polluters. Those who sued the EPA did not did not oppose its motion asking for the rule to be vacated.

When the rule was finalized, the Trump administration billed it as a clarification for a vague standard.

“This action adheres to the specific requirement laid out in the Clean Air Act and ensures covered entities, such as power plants and other large-scale manufacturers, are provided a clear view of regulatory requirements and expectations,” then-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

What this means to you
The Environmental Protection Agency has asked a court to vacate the Trump administration “Significant Contribution Rule” rule that could prevent setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries. EPA said in a court filing that under the previous administration, it “failed to provide any public notice or opportunity for comment on the central elements of the Significant Contribution Rule, rendering it unlawful.”

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