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AGA Comments on the EPA Stormwater Notice March 5, 2012
AGA Comments on EPA NSPS Air Rule for Turbines (Dec. 28, 2012)
Regulating Construction Site Stormwater Discharges with a Strong Statewide Program in Alabama (Dec. 3, 2012)
Federal Agency Leadership of Environmental Consultations for Natural Gas Projects (Dec. 10, 2012)
AGA Comments on Water Resources Permitting in California for Natural Gas Projects (Dec. 7, 2012)
AGA Comments on Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Index Tool for Environmental Permits (Dec. 3, 2012)
Comments on EPA’s PCB Transportation Manifest Rules (Nov. 5, 2012)
Sierra Club v. Bostick – Briefs to 10th Circuit in Appeal of Order Denying Motion for Injunction (Oct. 2012)
Courts Deny Sierra Club’s Motions for Injunction (Aug. 29, 2012)
Comments on EPA’s Draft Environmental Justice Best Practices for Permit Applicants (Aug. 27, 2012)
AGA Joins Multi-Industry Letter to Senate on TSCA Legislation (Aug. 21, 2012)
AGA Comments on EPA Proposal to Amend NESHAPS for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (Aug. 9, 2012)
Sierra Club v Bostick - AGA Moves to Intervene in Support of Streamlined Utility Wetlands Permit (July 30, 2012)
Court Grants AGA's Motion to Intervene in Sierra Club v. Bostick (Aug. 1, 2012)
AGA Comments on EPA GHG Subpart W Reporting Rule Technical Corrections (June 20, 2012)
AGA Comments on EPA Subpart W Greenhouse Gas Confidential Business Information & Reporting Deferral Proposed Rule (April 9, 2012)
AGA Comments on Major Source Boiler MACT Proposed Rule (Feb. 21, 2012)
AGA Court Challenge to GHGReporting Rule Subpart W Technical Revisions (Feb. 21, 2012)
AGA Supports SoCalGas’ Challenge to California Anti-LNG Rule (Jan. 4, 2012)
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 AGA Supports SoCalGas’ Challenge to California Anti-LNG Rule (Jan. 4, 2012) 

AGA filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) letter on January 4, 2012 at the California Supreme Court supporting member SoCalGas' petition for review of an anti-LNG rule promulgated by the South Coast Air Quality District. The two-part rule would essentially allow the local environmental agency to regulate gas quality – an issue normally within the jurisdiction of the state utility commission.  The District asserts that the imported LNG-derived supplies will increase the average heat index of natural gas supplies, and that when combusted, this will increase nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and contribute to ozone smog. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) considered the District’s concerns as well as the need to assure adequate gas supplies, and the net environmental benefit of using natural gas.  Based on this review, the CPUC rejected the District’s request for a more stringent limit. The District, ignoring the CPUC’s jurisdiction and decision on gas quality, proceeded to launch its own two-stage control measure to regulate the quality of natural gas

SoCalGas challenged the rule as exceeding the District’s statutory powers. The District argued that the California air quality statute gives the District the power to regulate the “owner or operator” of an “emission source,” and that this applies not just to the owner or operator of equipment that emits pollutants, but also to the utility that delivers fuel to the equipment. The California Court of Appeals upheld the rule, deferring to the District’s odd interpretation of the statute. A dissenting opinion noted that the court should not defer to the agency but should conduct its own analysis of the statute, applying the normal rules of statutory construction.  On this basis, the dissent would overturn the rule because “under no plain English reading of the facts can SoCalGas be said to ‘operate’ the gas in the pipeline.”  SoCalGas asked the California Supreme Court to clarify the standard of review and to determine whether a fuel such as natural gas is an “emission source” within the meaning of the California statute.

AGA’s letter asks the court to grant the petition.  We agree that the term “emission source” refers to equipment that emits pollutants, not the fuel delivered to the equipment.  In addition, we note that the District’s rule could actually undermine its goal of improving air quality in Southern California -- by increasing costs and discouraging the more efficient direct use of natural gas in homes and businesses. 

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