US Supreme Court to hear smog-soot case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to review an appeals court�s decision that the US Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority in 1997 when it issued controversial smog and soot standards. The high court will hear arguments and issue an opinion during its term that begins in October.

Oil industry groups had joined the American Trucking Association in the lawsuit against the EPA rule (OGJ, May 24, 1999, p. 39). The regulation affects refineries as well as other oil industry operations.

Business groups complained the rules would cost companies more than $45 billion for compliance.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled last year that EPA had failed to show that public health protection considerations justified the tougher rules, and that the agency was assuming regulatory powers that Congress had not, or could not, delegate under the US Constitution.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the US Department of Justice said the lower court�s decision was �a radical departure from settled law� that could affect federal agencies� ability to issue rules based on scientific judgments.

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