Full DC Circuit Court Overturns Order Delaying EPA Methane Rules

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(Washington, D.C. – July 31, 2017) The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued the mandate tonight in its ruling that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt acted unlawfully in suspending pollution limits for the oil and gas industry.

Nine of the eleven active judges on the court ordered immediate issuance of the mandate.

“Today’s issuance of the mandate by the full D.C. Circuit protects families and communities across America under clean air safeguards that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to unlawfully tear down,” said EDF Lead Attorney Peter Zalzal.

The en banc court issued the mandate this evening for the ruling by a three-judge panel on July 3rd.That opinion held Administrator Pruitt’s suspension of oil and gas pollution standards was “unlawful,” “arbitrary,” and “capricious.”

The critical clean air protections at stake will reduce harmful methane and smog-forming, toxic and carcinogenic air pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry.

Administrator Pruitt tried to impose a 90-day suspension of the vital clean air standards without public input and without analysis of the public health or environmental consequences.

Administrator Pruitt then requested that the court delay issuing its mandate in the case, asking for a 52-day or longer extension to comply with the court’s ruling. The court rejected the request and provided a limited 14-day period.

That 14-day period ended on Friday. EDF and its partners, and a coalition of 13 states and 2 cities, then asked the court to issue its mandate – which it did this evening.

In a separate action, Administrator Pruitt is also proposing to suspend compliance with these same protections for two years – while expressly conceding that the suspension may adversely impact children’s health. EPA is accepting public comment on that proposal through August 9th.

You can find more information – including all legal documents – on EDF’s website.