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States, Industry Groups Take Legal Action Opposing EPA Mandates

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With recent legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas, Virginia and Alabama added fuel to a firestorm of complaints against the EPA’s proposed regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

On Feb. 16, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced at a press conference in Austin that Texas, which emits more carbon dioxide than any other state, filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the EPA’s “endangerment finding,” released in December. Under a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the agency is legally required to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The states filed separate, brief petitions for review with the court. Texas also filed a 38-page “petition for reconsideration” with the EPA. Virginia filed a much shorter petition for reconsideration.

Perry says that federal curbs on greenhouse gases would amount to “sweeping mandates and draconian punishments” while destroying “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

A host of business and industry associations also filed petitions, including the National Association of Home Builders and the Portland Cement Association.

John Shaw, senior vice president of government affairs with the PCA, says the cement industry’s commitment to sustainability is not in question, and that it has worked closely with Congress “to develop what might be acceptable policy with regard to greenhouse gases.”

He adds that most industry groups want to be sure the EPA is not overstepping its bounds within the context of the Clean Air Act.

The EPA says it is confident the finding will withstand legal challenge. —Eileen Schwartz


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