Justices reject challenge to EPA air pollution rule

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 1, 2013 10:24am EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge by the oil lobby disputing a Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rule.

Various industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, originally challenged the 2010 regulation, which set a tighter Clean Air Act standard for short-term spikes in nitrogen dioxide pollution near roads.

The Supreme Court's decision not to take the case means the rule remains intact.

The agency said the new rule was justified due to scientific data that showed the health risks, particularly to those suffering from asthma.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the rule in a July 2012 ruling.

The American Petroleum Institute sought high court review, claiming the EPA justification for the rule was based on a "purely hypothetical threat to the public health."

The group's lawyers asked the court to limit EPA's authority so that the agency can only consider "actual or reasonably anticipated" health threats.

The Obama administration said in court papers that the appeals court decision was consistent with Supreme Court precedent.

The case is American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-760.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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