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Petition for Review of EPA's Air Quality Standards Rejected, Plus Administrative and Civil Procedure Matters

By FindLaw Staff on May 14, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Florida Gas Transmission Co. v. FERC, No. 07-1533, involved petitions for review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) orders establishing new gas quality and interchangeability standards for Florida Gas's interstate natural gas pipeline system.  The D.C. Circuit granted one such petition, holding that 1) the Commission had no authority under section 5 of the Natural Gas Act to impose the new standards on gas flowing from the Western Division into the Market Area; and 2) the Commission failed to identify any mechanism through which Florida Gas (or any other pipeline) could maintain a compliant commingled stream without controlling the quality of upstream deliveries.  However, the court denied another petition, holding that, even assuming FERC had jurisdiction to establish a cost-recovery mechanism, it provided an adequate alternate rationale for refusing to establish any cost-recovery mechanism.

Athridge v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., No. 08-7145, concerned an action against an insurer to collect a judgment entered against the insured responsible for an accident.  The D.C. Circuit affirmed judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) under District of Columbia law, an insurer may be estopped from denying coverage only if its participation somehow prejudiced the insured by undermining his ability to defend himself; 2) defendant's policy did not require the payment of interest on a judgment for which defendant had been adjudged to have no liability; 3) under District of Columbia law, issue preclusion did not apply where issues were only similar, but not identical, or where the determination of an issue was "dictum" and not "essential to the judgment"; and 4) there was no abuse of discretion in the magistrate judge's bifurcation of the case.

Coalition of Battery Recyclers Assoc. v. EPA, No. 09-1011, involved a petition for review of the EPA's revision of air quality criteria and national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) relating to lead.  The court of appeals denied the petition, holding that 1) given the recent scientific evidence on which it relied, EPA's decision to base the revised lead NAAQS on protecting the subset of children likely to be exposed to airborne lead at the level of the standard was not arbitrary or capricious; 2) EPA reasonably explained why it relied more on the evidence-based framework than on the risk assessment model results; and 3) petitioners failed to show that EPA's conclusions regarding the lead NAAQS level were valid only for exposures to lead averaged over a period of one year.

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