Environmentalists and industry teamed up Friday to appeal a court decision that overturned a major piece of former President Barack Obama's climate change agenda to limit the use of air-conditioning refrigerants blamed for exacerbating global warming.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, manufacturing giant Honeywell and the chemical company Chemours filed briefs with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the full court of 10 judges to review a three-judge panel's decision last month rescinding the Environmental Protection Agency's program to phase out hydrofluorocarbons.
The chemical phaseout was part of Obama's plan to combat climate change with emission rules for power plants and automobiles. The EPA program also helped codify a multinational agreement to phase out the chemicals globally as an amendment to the 30-year old Montreal Protocol. The U.S. signed onto the climate change deal last year in Kigali, Rwanda. The deal is seen as an adjunct to the much broader climate change deal that Obama agreed to in Paris in 2015.
Friday was the last day to appeal the D.C. Circuit Court's decision. The Trump Justice Department, representing EPA, had not yet filed to appeal the decision.
If the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals fails to reconsider the ruling, the groups could approach the Supreme Court to hear the case.
"The panel majority eviscerated the critical program Congress enacted to ensure that substitutes adopted to replace ozone-depleting chemicals ‘reduce overall risks to human health and the environment' ‘to the maximum extent practicable,'" the Natural Resources Defense Council argued, citing the nation's air pollution law. "If the decision stands, [the chemicals meant to be phased out] will continue fueling dangerous climate change and increasing the harms suffered by millions of Americans experiencing extreme weather events and other climate impacts."
Honeywell and Chemours made a similar argument in their filing, adding that more than $1 billion in investments are at stake in manufacturing replacement chemicals.