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On remand from the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently denied petitions for review of the pending ozone and fine particulate matter air quality standards promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1997, finding that the EPA’s promulgation of the new standards was neither arbitrary nor capricious. After a tumultuous five years in which both the regulated community and the environmental community have waited, not knowing whether the strict new standards would ever become enforceable, this recent decision in American Trucking Associations v. Environmental Protection Agency[1] (ATA III) brings hope of closure on the matter. The opinion also addresses an important administrative law issue in upholding the ability of administrative agencies, such as the EPA, to choose among a number of options that could each be appropriate (such as choosing a particular number within a range of acceptable numbers) as long as the agency engages in reasoned decisionmaking.

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