Federal appeals court boots challenge to EPA emissions rules

06/09/2015 04:40 PM

A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to set limits on carbon-dioxide emissions.

The three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington, D.C., ruled that the petition for review brought by Murray Energy Corp., Peabody Energy Corp., and attorneys general in 12 states including Kentucky was premature because the EPA has only proposed a rule on greenhouse gas emissions.

”They want us to do something that they candidly acknowledge we have never done before: review the legality of a proposed rule,” U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the opinion. “But a proposed rule is just a proposal.

“In justiciable cases, this Court has authority to review the legality of final agency rules. We do not have authority to review proposed agency rules. In short, we deny the petitions for review and the petition for a writ of prohibition because the complained-of agency action is not final.”

While the court’s ruling ends this lawsuit, another may be forthcoming involving Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway. Sean Riley, chief deputy attorney general, told a legislative panel Thursday that the office will again challenge the EPA once the emissions guidelines are finalized this summer.

Conway, his party’s nominee for governor, indicated he will ask the appeals court to reconsider its decision before taking additional steps.

The EPA’s proposal, which would mandate cutting emissions in Kentucky to 18 percent of its 2012 totals by 2030, “would do grave damage to Kentucky’s economy,” he added.

“The bipartisan coalition of states that I have worked with on this case is preparing a petition for rehearing,” Conway said in a statement. “If the rules are finalized, we will challenge the final rule. This is a long-term battle regarding an overreach by the EPA and by this administration. I plan to fight every step of the way.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.