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Court: EPA can’t revoke ozone requirements for highway projects

Washington (AP) — In a victory for environmental groups, a federal appeals court rejected two Environmental Protection Agency regulations that loosened requirements for achieving compliance with more protective ozone standards.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the  EPA cannot increase the amount of compliance time by an additional year and cannot revoke ozone requirements for highway projects.

According to the court, the EPA regulations implementing the 2008 ozone standards exceed the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act.

In the majority opinion, appeals judge Sri Srinivasan wrote that  the EPA’s action was untethered to Congress’s approach. In addition, Srinivasan wrote, EPA identifies no provision under the Clean Air Act specifically authorizing revocation of the highway requirements. Srinivasan, a nominee of President Barack Obama, was joined by judge David Tatel, a nominee of President Bill Clinton.

In dissent, appeals judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote that the court’s decision and its reasoning “are, I believe, mistaken” and that EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act is permissible.

The Natural Resources Defense Council brought the challenges to the EPA’s regulations.

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