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An affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded for the district court to reassess its liability and penalty findings.
In its coalition brief, the U.S. Chamber urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to affirm a district court’s decision rejecting a Clean Air Act citizen suit seeking a $642 million civil penalty.
The coalition brief argued that citizen suits have an interstitial role in Clean Air Act enforcement that should not override state and federal regulators’ efforts. Courts retain discretion to examine companies’ reporting compliance and cooperation with regulators in determining whether there has been a violation and whether to assess a civil penalty. Furthermore, courts should consider the findings and enforcement decisions of regulators in determining what relief is appropriate in a citizen suit, and reversal of the judgment could lead to a cascade of citizen suits and frustrate orderly regulation of the nation’s air quality.
The U.S. Chamber filed this brief jointly with the BCCA Appeal Group, Texas Oil & Gas Association, Texas Chemical Council, and National Association of Manufacturers.
Aaron M. Streett, Matthew Kuryla, and Zachary Craft of Baker Botts L.L.P. served as co-counsel for the amici with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. Chamber amicus brief filed 9/17/2015.