Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected environmental and state/industry challenges to EPA’s Regional Haze Rule. In essence, the ruling confirms that EPA was reasonable in determining that compliance with its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was sufficiently stringent to constitute “better-than BART” and thus could excuse states from complying with Best Available Retrofit Requirements where they are subject to CSAPR.
Boy, that was a mouthful.
The ruling is not really surprising, but here are a few notable items.
- Judge Williams went out of his way to note the accepted pronunciation of CSAPR – as though it were “CASPER”. I’m glad that important point has finally been put to rest.
- The opinion counts as another example in my accumulated list of cases in which Chevron or Auer deference has been used to uphold the conservative position in a case. The environmental groups had argued that EPA’s interpretation of its own regulations was flawed. The Court, relying in part on Auer, concluded that EPA’s interpretation was reasonable and must be upheld.
- The case does provide some helpful guidelines regarding when EPA’s failure to address comments on proposed rules is significant enough to matter. The Court made clear that, where the point made in the comment is too speculative, agency failure to address it need not be fatal.
I am disappointed, however, that there are no Casper the Friendly Ghost / Bart Simpson videos that would illustrate the principle that CSAPR is better than BART, so you’ll have to make do with this clip that I somehow had never heard before today.