On July 5, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a nondiscretionary duty to determine whether greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aircraft endanger human welfare. 

In a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and others, Judge Henry Kennedy ruled on EPA’s motion to dismiss and found that under Section 231 of the Clean Air Act, EPA “shall” regulate harmful aircraft emissions, and that it therefore has a mandatory duty to determine whether GHG emissions are harmful. 

Judge Kennedy has not determined a timeframe for EPA’s review, and no final judgment has been entered in the case as of yet.  The plaintiffs did file a motion for summary judgment last June, which may lead to a final determination, and a binding timetable.