Mica Rosenberg, July 12— (Reuters) – Biofuel producers will be subject to rules regulating carbon emissions, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday, in a decision hailed by environmental groups.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a three-year deferral put in place in 2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that temporarily exempted paper and wood product manufacturers and ethanol producers from curbing the release of greenhouse gases.
The EPA wanted to further study how much of the emissions linked to climate change come from burning plant matter before issuing emission regulations and permit requirements that could be costly to industry.
But environmental groups contested the exclusion in court and two judges on the three-judge panel favored their view.
The court's decision cited the Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark 2007 decision in which the justices found that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.
“There is no statutory basis for exempting biogenic carbon dioxide” from the EPA's rule making process, Judge David Tatel wrote for the court.
In a statement responding to the decision, the EPA said it “will review the decision to determine any next steps.”