* US appeals court says EPA not arbitrary or capricious
* 2010 rule limited emissions of nitrogen dioxide
* Oil and gas industry group opposed rule, reviews decision
By Jonathan Stempel
July 17 A federal appeals court upheld a new
Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit nitrogen dioxide
emissions near major roadways, in a defeat for the oil industry,
which said the rule went beyond what was necessary to protect
Tuesday's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in
Washington, D.C., is a victory for the Obama administration and
environmental groups that supported the 2010 rule, which limits
exhaust that could remain in the air for a one-hour period.
The 100 parts-per-billion limit was intended to reduce smog
from such sources as car exhaust pipes and factories; it was
more stringent than a standard dating from 1971.
Nitrogen oxides have been linked to respiratory problems,
especially in children and people with asthma, according to the
"We cannot conclude the agency was arbitrary and
capricious," Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote for a unanimous
three-judge panel. "The record adequately supports the EPA's
conclusion that material negative health effects result from
ambient air concentrations as low as the 100 parts-per-billion
The American Petroleum Institute, which represents more than
500 oil and gas companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and
Chevron Corp, led opposition to the rule and had sued to
"By cherry-picking data and relying on questionable science,
EPA set the new regulations at a level more stringent than
necessary to protect public health and is putting our economy
and jobs unnecessarily at risk," Howard Feldman, API's director
of regulatory and scientific policy, said in a statement. "We
are reviewing the ruling and will determine possible further
The EPA had contended that a significant body of scientific
studies has established that the old standard did not
sufficiently protect the public health from the harmful effects
of nitrogen dioxide exposure, with an adequate margin of safety.
The case is American Petroleum Institute et al v. EPA, D.C.
Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 10-1079.