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Courts Look at Emissions Rules, Nuclear Waste Disposal Fees

gavelIn recent days, federal courts have seen a laundry list of challenges to rules on emissions and nuclear waste disposal fees.

First, the Washington, D.C., circuit court has dismissed a claim by the American Trucking Association that California was given too much latitude to set emissions standards that exceed federal standards, reports Courthouse News Service.

The claim centered on a 2004 rule that set standards on “non-road” engines, such as those used to run refrigeration units on trailers. The association said that the EPA did not consider the full costs of implementing the rule, which the truckers said amounted to a national rule, since many trucks pass through California.

The court ruled that EPA “adequately considered” the rule, which means upgrades in the range of $2,000 to $5,000 per unit, to ensure compliance.

A coalition of coal, mining and agricultural groups have petitioned the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to review EPA’s proposed timeline for regulating emissions from stationary sources, reports the New York Times. Read the petition here (PDF).

The proposed timeline would have large stationary sources under regulation beginning in 2011.

Petitioners included the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Industrial Minerals Association – North America, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Great Northern Project Development, Rosebud Mining and Alpha Natural Resources.

The groups are challenging EPA’s interpretation of the “Johnson Memo,” a Bush-era proclamation that prohibited controls on CO2 emissions from being included in air permits, coal-fired power plants and other facilities.

On the nuclear front, 16 utilities and a nuclear trade association have sued the Department Energy to halt collection of nuclear waste disposal fees, considering that the U.S. no longer has a disposal plan after the decision that Yucca Mountain, Nev., was an inadequate repository, reports the New York Times.

The utilities pay about $750 million a year into a fund for the waste disposal.

Away from the courts, California’s plan to cap greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 may face a ballot challenge, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The ballot, which is led by the energy industry and an anti-tax group, would postpone any carbon limit until the economy recovers.

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