Greenhouse Gas Regulation Under the Clean Air Act: Does Chevron v. NRDC Set the EPA Free?
37 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2010 Last revised: 29 Oct 2013
Date Written: Decmber 3, 2009
The EPA is likely to face a legal problem on the path to regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Actions the agency is taking now will likely set it on a mandatory path to regulation of GHGs under the comprehensive “National Ambient Air Quality Standards” (NAAQS) program – a scheme that almost everyone who has studied the CAA thinks is a poor fit for GHG regulation and which blocks use of arguably more effective schemes within the CAA. Unless the EPA can win a lawsuit challenging an interpretation of the CAA that has stood for more than 30 years, or Congress explicitly takes away the agency’s authority to set a GHG NAAQS with new legislation, the agency will have to navigate the complex NAAQS process – with potentially large effects on the efficiency and effectiveness of GHG regulation.
Keywords: Clean Air Act, greenhouse gases, GHGs, NAAQS, §108, NRDC v. Train, Chevron v. NRDC, endangerment
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