American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, (D.C. Cir. Apr. 3, 2013). Petitioners in these consolidated proceedings challenge EPA’s air pollution standards for certain source categories in the oil and gas sector, including natural gas processing plants and gas wells. In a clerk’s order, the court granted EPA’s unopposed motion to sever the challenge to the new source performance standards (NSPSs) from the challenge to the national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAPs). The challenges were suspended pending EPA action on petitions for reconsideration. The NSPS challenge is to be held in abeyance until August 30, 2013. The NESHAP challenge is to be held in abeyance until May 30, 2014, with a progress report due to the court from EPA on October 1, 2013. In January 2013, the court granted the state of Texas petitioners’ motion for voluntary dismissal. The Texas petitioners had informed the court that they believed that “the issues in this case more directly affect the industry petitioners and can be fully and adequately addressed by them.”
Pa. Envtl. Def. Found. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 228 M.D. 2012 (Jan. 22, 2013). Plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of various legislative enactments that plaintiff alleged impermissibly diverted funds from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund—which was created exclusively to preserve state parks and forests in connection with extraction activities on public lands—to the General Fund and other funds. Plaintiff also alleged that the laws compelled leasing of State forest lands without evaluation of potential harm to the State’s natural resources in violation of the State’s obligation as trustee. Pennsylvania’s constitution imposes the duty to “conserve and maintain” Pennsylvania’s public natural resources “for the benefit of all the people,” including future generations. In January 2013, the court overruled the Commonwealth’s preliminary objections, which challenged the legal sufficiency of the allegations and argued that they presented non-justiciable political questions.