EDF Asks Appeals Court to Uphold EPA’s Endangerment Finding, the Foundation for Climate Protections under Our Nation’s Clean Air Laws

January 18, 2023
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – January 18, 2023) Environmental Defense Fund and a group of public health and environmental organizations have filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding – the basis for EPA efforts to regulate the pollution that causes climate change and threatens the health and safety of all people.

“The climate crisis is a severe and growing threat to people everywhere. While most of us are racing to address the pollution that fuels the climate crisis, climate deniers are litigating to try to obstruct progress and block life-saving solutions,” said Vickie Patton, General Counsel for EDF which is a party to the case. “We urge the court to uphold the science-based foundation that we need to address climate destabilizing pollution and the deadly flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and drought linked to it – disasters that are putting millions of people across America at risk.”

EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding determined that six greenhouse gases that cause climate change are a threat to public health and safety, and thus by law must be regulated. The Endangerment Finding was unanimously upheld in a 2011 D.C. Circuit court decision that observed it was supported by “an ocean of evidence.” The finding has since been relied upon in numerous agency and court decisions, and the scientific foundation on which it was based has become even stronger. In spite of that, a group of climate deniers who work at think tanks with ties to fossil fuel industries are attacking it again. They filed administrative petitions with EPA seeking to compel the agency to rescind the 2009 Endangerment Finding. After both the Trump administration and the Biden administration rejected their petitions, these parties filed a lawsuit in the D.C. Circuit in October of 2022 seeking to compel EPA to reverse the Endangerment Finding.

Undermining the Endangerment Finding would jeopardize U.S. efforts to address the climate crisis and the increasing and deadly harm it is causing. Just last year, in the U.S. alone, more than 400 people were killed in climate-related weather disasters and there were 18 such disasters with losses exceeding one billion dollars each. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that we must move quickly to address the pollution causing the climate crisis.

EDF was joined on the brief by the American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Appalachian Mountain Club, Clean Air Council, Clean Wisconsin, National Parks Conservation Association, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. EPA, represented by the Department of Justice, is also defending the Endangerment Finding in this case. A group of leading climate scientists also filed an amicus brief explaining that EPA’s finding is amply supported by an overwhelming and growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are causing dangerous climate change which is endangering public health and the environment.

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund