Comcast Decision May Thwart EPA CO2 Finding

April 20th, 2010

By Dan Miller

On April 6, 2010, a three judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held unanimously in Comcast Corporation v. FCC that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had overstepped its statutory authority in attempting to regulate certain aspects of cable internet service, in a decision written by Judge David S. Tatel. In an earlier article, I wrote about the decision in terms of its impact on the FCC, which may be substantial. Anyone interested in that is invited to read that article. Here, I would like to address the broader implications of the decision on other administrative agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The decision provides critical guidance on how the D.C. Circuit may eventually rule on current efforts of the EPA to vastly expand its statutory authority over air quality standards. The D.C. Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction to entertain appeals from most FCC decisions as well as the decisions of most federal administrative agencies, including the EPA. The process bypasses intermediate proceedings at the Federal District Court level, and decisions by the D.C. Circuit can be appealed only to the Supreme Court. Nearly always, acceptance of such appeals is discretionary with the Supreme Court through the certiorari process. Very few petitions for grant of a writ of certiorari are granted.

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2 Responses to “Comcast Decision May Thwart EPA CO2 Finding”

  1. Tom |

    Great article, Dan. The implications for restraining the EPA’s potential overreach on air quality standards are very interesting. It wouldn’t be the first time that administrative implementation of a statute went somewhere other than where it was supposed to go, and it would be good if they were forced to back off.

    I have the same kind of concern about what’s going to happen when the bureaucracy, particularly HHS, begins writing the rules, regulations, and procedures necessary to implement the health care reform legislation. Maybe Comcast will have a restraining effect on that process, too.

  2. Tom |

    Interesting article here. Apparently the White House and the EPA are determined to take draconian steps under the Clean Air Act if Congress doesn’t pass energy legislation soon.

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