Construction groups support EPA emission decision

The Clean Air Act does not grant the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate “greenhouse gases,” according to an opinion statement a coalition of construction industry groups submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association, along with the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Portland Cement Association, filed an amicus brief in October that supports the EPA’s decision not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles, including new construction equipment. The statement stresses that the court should give deference to the EPA’s decisions on what it can or cannot regulate.

According to the EPA, greenhouse gases are gases that can alter the climate and environment through agricultural and industrial practices. While some of these gases are naturally occurring, those caused by human activities include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluororcarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

In 1999, several environmental organizations filed a petition to try compel the EPA to regulate greenhouse emissions from new motor vehicle engines. In September 2003, however, the EPA denied the petition after a review of the Clean Air Act, stating that it “cannot and should not,” regulate such emissions. The environmental groups have since appealed the EPA’s decision to the appeals court. Oral arguments in the case will take place April 8.