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The Environmental Law Institute® Hails Supreme Court Decision

February 2001

The Environmental Law Institute® (ELI) hailed the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, affirming the Environmental Protection Agency’s right to set air quality standards to protect public health. In Whitman v. American Trucking, the Supreme Court reviewed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 1997 decision to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and fine particulate matter. The Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act “unambiguously bars” EPA from considering the economic costs when formulating NAAQS air quality standards. The American Trucking Associations, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia brought suit against EPA, claiming that EPA had failed to consider implementation costs of its air regulations along with public health considerations.

ELI President Bill Futrell praised the ruling, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision affirms thirty years of interpretation of the Clean Air Act, and solidifies EPA’s role in setting public health standards.”

“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision means cleaner air for all Americans. It also reaffirms EPA’s approach to environmental protection, which is to let scientifically sound public health considerations guide our nation’s air quality goals,” said Gary S. Guzy, an ELI Visiting Scholar who served as EPA’s General Counsel during the Clinton Administration.

For additional information, please contact Gary S. Guzy or Kathleen Rogers at (202) 939 - 3800.