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Cynthia A. Faur quoted in article “Environmental Issues GCs Must Have on their Radar”

Inside Counsel

Dozens of companies, industry associations, advocacy groups, states, government entities and lawmakers have sued the EPA alleging its endangerment finding--in which it deemed GHGs, including carbon dioxide (CO2), dangerous pollutants--is incorrect, and therefore the agency has no power to regulate GHGs.

Texas has been the most outspoken state opposing the emissions permits. When the permitting rule was issued, the Lone Star State refused to comply, citing economic losses that would result from the regulations. On Dec. 30, 2010, in Texas v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit granted a stay on the rules, but it was short-lived. On Jan. 12, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court ruled that the EPA would take over Texas' permitting program.

The turbulence surrounding the EPA's rules has only increased various industries' discomfort. "When businesses see that kind of uncertainty and political bickering, they're going to attempt to delay the regulations, no matter how limited they look, and try to make them less burdensome," says Hogan Lovells Partner Patrick Raher.

Businesses are worried about how GHG emissions changes will affect the shaky economy. "Manufacturing in this country has taken a beating in the past couple of decades, and the fear is that if you add this greenhouse gas regulation on top, ultimately you're going to force companies to curtail operations and ship overseas," says Claudia O'Brien, a partner at Latham & Watkins and co-chair of the firm's Global Climate Change Practice Group.

CO2 Conundrum

According to Quarles & Brady Partner Cynthia Faur, "there is currently no economically or technically feasible technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Originally published in Inside Counsel, April 1, 2011

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