• U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit: Lifting of Methane Rule Stay Will Not Be Reconsidered
  • August 16, 2017 | Author: Steven D. Irwin
  • Law Firm: Leech Tishman - Pittsburgh Office
  • On Thursday, August 10, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the states’ and industry groups’ motion to reconsider its July 1, 2017, ruling that lifted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) stay of portions of a rule intended to curb methane emissions from new oil and gas infrastructure. A copy of the ruling can be found here.

    Petitioners, a group of environmental organizations, filed a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to stay implementation of portions of a final rule concerning methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from new oil and gas infrastructure. This challenge followed the U.S. EPA’s announcement, on May 26, 2017, that it was suspending and reconsidering for 90 days a 2016 EPA regulation that limits methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The EPA stated that it wants to give the oil and gas industry a second chance to comment on the rule. On July 3, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a per curiam order concluding that the EPA lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to stay the rule, and granted the petitioners’ motion to vacate the stay.

    Yesterday’s ruling by the D.C. Circuit upholds the Court’s July 3, 2017, ruling. En Banc re-hearings, such as the one requested here by the states and industry groups, are rarely granted. The federal rules state that en banc consideration is granted only when necessary to “secure or maintain uniformity of the court’s decisions” or the proceeding involves a question of “exceptional importance.” The next step after being denied en banc consideration is to file a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. In most cases, the petition is denied.