Court denies industry request to block EPA ozone lawsuit

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently denied a coalition of industry groups, which includes the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), from intervening in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the delay of new ozone standards.

In June, the Sierra Club and other environmental advocacy groups filed a suit directed at EPA, which addressed the agency’s failure to meet its five-year statutory deadline for reviewing the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone and would require any revisions be proposed by September 2014. In response, AAIA joined the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and 11 other industry groups in filing a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, citing the added economic cost and regulatory burden placed on businesses if the review and revision process were to be sped up drastically, as is being requested by the environmental groups.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denied the industry groups’ motion to intervene, asserting that they had no protectable interest of any kind that would be influenced by the outcome of this case, according to AAIA. Rogers ruled that the case simply dealt with compliance of a federal law — in this case the Clean Air Act— and did not call for adoption of any new standard or additional regulatory rulemaking.

Furthermore, Rogers rejected the industry groups’ claim that the proposed deadline in the suit would interfere with their ability to compile any scientific research for comment, citing that they did not have the “protectable procedural right” to seek an extension to the process so that they would have more time to comment, AAIA noted.

Finally, the court expressed its confidence that EPA will adequately represent the concerns of the industry groups in the suit and that any outside involvement on the part of the defense would further complicate and delay the process.