Sean Hecht, Executive Director of the Environmental Law Center, Comments on New EPA Gas Standard in Law360 Article

‚ÄčApril 5, 2013 -- Sean Hecht, the executive director of the Environmental Law Center, commented on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plan to cut the sulfur content in gasoline. His comments appear in a Law360 article.

University of California, Los Angeles law professor Sean Hecht, who serves as executive director of the school's Environmental Law Center, said the proposed standard will likely look very close to the finalized version because the EPA is seeking uniformity with California. Once the rule is finalized, oil industry groups will have a major uphill battle if they take on the EPA in court.

"It's very well established that the agencies like the EPA have wide discretion to use modeling and estimation techniques that are deemed reasonable," Hecht said. "The fact that someone else might come to a different result using different assumptions is not enough to get it overturned. The EPA's decision has to be so out of bounds that it defies reason."

It's possible that the agency might suffer a critical misstep along the way and open the door for a viable challenge, Hecht said. It's happened before, when courts have found that an agency failed to use high-quality data when creating a new rule, but Hecht said that winning such an argument is still a long shot for Tier 3 opponents.

"My guess is that situation is pretty unlikely here, considering the science and methodologies involved, even though there are differences of opinion," Hecht said.

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