U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


Cert. Denied


Questions Presented

1. Does the redesignation statute’s use of the phrase “applicable implementation plan” in § 7407(d)(3)(E)(ii) refer to a nonattainment plan and require a State seeking attainment status to continue implementing all nonattainment-plan mandates?

2. Does the nonattainment-plan statute’s mandate to use “reasonably available control measures” in § 7502(c)(1) compel States to impose measures unnecessary to meet the relevant air-quality standards?

Case Updates

Supreme Court denies review of circuit split over interpretation of the EPA’s redesignation authority under the Clean Air Act

March 28, 2016

The petition for writ of certiorari was denied.

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to review circuit split over interpretation of the EPA’s redesignation authority under the Clean Air Act

December 23, 2015

In its coalition brief, the U.S. Chamber and its partners argued that under the Clean Air Act, when an area the EPA had designated as a nonattainment area with respect to national ambient air quality standards (“NAAQS”) subsequently satisfies those standards, that area of the country need not continue to implement costly nonattainment requirements and control measures that are, by definition, no longer necessary for attainment.

The brief explains that the designation of nonattainment under the Clean Air Act imposes substantial economic burdens on such areas of the country and discourages businesses from investing in those American cities. It is thus no surprise that the EPA has long interpreted the Clean Air Act to allow the EPA to redesignate an area as an attainment area—and thus relieve the area of the more costly requirements for nonattainment areas—once it meets the NAAQS. The decision below not only contradicts the EPA’s correct and longstanding position and imposes severe economic burdens on certain American cities, but it also disrupts the previously uniform nationwide regulatory scheme. The Sixth Circuit’s decision squarely conflicts with that of the neighboring Seventh Circuit, and is in substantial tension with decisions from four other circuits. Such a patchwork regulatory scheme unnecessarily imposes additional costs and uncertainty on amici’s members that operate businesses nationwide and in the affected areas, and it disadvantages certain cities for no reason other than the fact that they are located in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee (the Sixth Circuit).

This brief was filed jointly with several state and local chambers in the Sixth Circuit: the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and Chamber of Commerce serving Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County.

Christopher J. Walker served as counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

Case Documents