Appeals Court Rejects Texas, Power Companies’ Challenges to Clean Air Safeguards

July 26, 2013


Peter Zalzal, 303-946-0907,
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Washington, D.C. – July 26, 2013) Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed lawsuits filed by the state of Texas and a group of power companies that could have undermined vital clean air protections and hurt efforts to reduce climate pollution.

The lawsuits had challenged efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure smooth, uninterrupted permitting of large sources of greenhouse gas emissions, as required under America’s clean air laws. Permitting ensures that large emitters deploy modern pollution control technology to cost-effectively reduce their climate pollution.

Today’s dismissed lawsuits are part of an ongoing set of challenges the state of Texas has mounted against some of the most important climate protections in our country.

“Instead of using its taxpayer dollars to litigate and obstruct clean air protections, Texas should invest in expanding its world-class wind energy resources, and in building a stronger clean energy economy,” said Peter Zalzal, an attorney for Environmental Defense Fund, which was an intervenor in the case. “Investing in clean energy instead of lawsuits will benefit Texas communities facing the debilitating impacts and soaring costs of the extreme weather linked to climate change.”

In the rulemaking at issue here, EPA took action to ensure that large greenhouse gas emitting sources in certain states could obtain the permits they needed for construction and deployment of modern technologies to reduce their emissions.

All states except Texas worked with EPA to ensure that a permitting authority was in place.

In today’s decision, the court concluded that the Clean Air Act unambiguously required large greenhouse gas emitting sources to obtain these construction permits. The court also found that because EPA’s limited actions allowed sources to obtain permits that they otherwise could not obtain, neither the power companies nor states had standing to challenge them.

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