Argument Preview: Kansas v. EPA


motor emissions

The Case: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday will hear arguments in Kansas v. EPA (No. 14-1268), litigation over the EPA’s 2014 update to its Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator, also known as MOVES2014.

What’s at Stake: Kansas, Nebraska, the Energy Future Coalition and Urban Air Initiative Inc. want the court to vacate the 2014 update to the MOVES model, which is used by states to craft implementation plans for complying with national ambient air quality standards and to demonstrate transportation conformity under those plans. The EPA updated the MOVES tool to reflect new emissions control programs and revise modeling for emissions related to ethanol and gasoline sulfur.

The Arguments: The petitioners argued in their brief that the MOVES2014 tool is “fatally flawed” in its modeling of ethanol. The petitioners said the EPA relied on flawed data derived from a fuel effects study, which attributed increased criteria pollutant emissions to an increase in the ethanol content of gasoline. The petitioner briefs also alleged that the EPA violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not providing a public notice and comment period on the decision to revise the modeling tool.

EPA’s Defense: The EPA argued in its brief that the D.C. Circuit should dismiss the case over a lack of jurisdiction because the revision does not constitute a final agency action under the Clean Air Act. The agency said if the court does reach the merits arguments, the panel should defer to the EPA’s scientific expertise and uphold the revisions.

The Panel : Judges Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and A. Raymond Randolph will hear arguments Feb. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

By Patrick Ambrosio,