11 February 2020

D.C. Circuit Denies Requests to Expedite or Pause Case Over California Waiver to Regulate Vehicle Emissions

In Union of Concerned Scientists v. NHTSA, No. 19-1230, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) has denied the motion filed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expedite petitions for review challenging the agencies’ rule preempting California’s authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards. In the short per curiam order issued on February 4, the D.C. Circuit explained that the agencies have not articulated “strongly compelling” reasons to expedite the litigation. Last December, the agencies asked the D.C. Circuit to hear the case as early as this spring arguing that the standards in question are “immediately impacting” the automotive sector of the U.S. economy. The D.C. Circuit also denied the petitioners’ motion to hold the petition in abeyance pending resolution of a similar case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which will decide on proper venue for the litigation.