Category Archives: Administrative Procedure Act

Can “Guidance” Ever Be Binding?

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to EPA guidance that suggested a new statistical method, the Test of Significant Toxicity, for determining the toxicity of discharges subject to NPDES permits.  The Court found that, because it was “nonbinding guidance,” it was not final agency action and was thus not subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

May I ask my legal colleagues to wrap their heads around the concept of “nonbinding guidance?”  Doesn’t the existence of “nonbinding guidance” imply the existing of “binding guidance?”  If not,… More

FERC Cannot Avoid the Social Cost of Carbon By Arguing That It is Not Universally Accepted

On August 3, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that FERC could not avoid use of the social cost of carbon in assessing the impacts of natural gas projects by arguing that “there is no universally accepted methodology.”  Given the growing recognition of the significant role FERC is going to have in combatting climate change, it’s an important decision. 

FERC acknowledged that construction and operation of the projects under review would “contribute incrementally to future climate change impacts.”  However,… More