January 21, 2021 – Today, the Emmett Clinic filed an amicus brief in support of state, local government, and public interest organization petitioners in Competitive Enterprise Institute v. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  The petitioners are challenging the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule (“SAFE Rule”), promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (“NHTSA”).

The Clinic’s brief argues that the EPA and NHTSA, in promulgating the SAFE Rule, ignored decades of science and their own conclusions regarding the perils of climate change, despite acknowledging the harms caused by increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the use of fossil fuels, as well as the significant role that the transportation sector plays in U.S. emissions and global warming.  Despite having the statutory authority to take meaningful action, the EPA and NHTSA issued a rule that does nothing to address these harms, and instead represents a substantial step backwards from previously adopted standards.  The brief urges EPA and NHTSA to take action now to prevent additional compliance costs, avoid a climate catastrophe, and allow the transportation sector to continue to innovate and adopt technologies that will reduce emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

The Clinic’s brief was filed on behalf of a group of eminent climate scientists and economists— Andrew Dessler, Philip Duffy, Michael MacCracken, James McWilliams, Noelle Eckley Selin, Drew Shindell, James Stock, Kevin Trenberth, and Gernot Wagner—who have made significant contributions to research on the science and economics of climate change.

Clinical student Chloe Warnberg, JD’22, worked on the brief under the supervision of Deputy Director Shaun Goho, building on the prior work of clinical students Jason Bell, JD’21, Ashton Macfarlane, JD’21, and Aaron Silberman, JD’21.

The brief is available here: Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al. v. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, et al. (D.C. Cir. No. 20-1145)