Court Challenges are Unlikely to Overturn EPA’s New Emissions Standards

The EPA's new emissions standards follow the Clean Air Act, and the rules are more legal obligations than trailblazing actions.

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If you sued the EPA, who would be your lawyer?

On April 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced vehicle emissions standards that would require auto companies to lower the average carbon dioxide emissions from their tailpipes to 82 grams per mile by 2032. Then, on May 11, the EPA announced emissions standards for coal and natural gas power plants, requiring that natural gas plants capture 90 percent of their emissions by 2035 and coal plants capture 90 percent by 2030 unless they plan to retire the plant. Both of these emissions standards came with major announcements from the EPA, followed by news stories stressing their historic significance. But while these new rules are important, the EPA was less so trailblazing and more so just doing their job. And since they did their job and nothing more or less, it feels unlikely that any court challenge against these standards would find success. Ethan explores what the EPA’s legal obligations are with regard to carbon emissions, the pros and cons of these new regulations, and why it would be strange for them to be struck down in court in this week’s “Tip of the Iceberg.”

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Writer: Ethan Brown, Velina Georgi, Mo Polyak, Madeleine Salman

Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley

Editor: Megan Antone

Producers: Ethan Brown, Hallie Cordingley, Shannon Damiano

Ad Voiceover: Megan Antone

Music: Brett Sawka

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.

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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


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