On October 12, 2012, the EPA responded to petitions for rehearing en banc filed by Industry Petitioners in the Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA case before the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The petitions seek review by all eight D.C. Circuit judges of the three-judge panel decision issued last July that upheld EPA’s greenhouse gas (“GHG”) endangerment finding, its first-time ever regulations of GHG emissions from automobiles, and its “Tailoring Rule” and “Timing Rule” under which EPA commenced GHG permitting requirements as of January 2, 2011 and set numerical permitting thresholds.
Under the Court’s rules, response to rehearing en banc petitions are not allowed unless asked for by the Court. At the same time, the Court can’t grant a rehearing en banc petition unless it first asks for a response, which it did here. The Court must ask for a response if a single judge requests one, so at least one judge must have been resistant to denying the rehearing request out of hand and may be interested in voting to rehear the case. On the other hand, a majority of the eight judges must vote for rehearing for rehearing to be granted. Because the three judges on the panel will participate in the decision to grant or deny rehearing en banc, all five judges that were not on the panel will have to vote to rehear the case in order for rehearing to be granted, unless one of the panelists changes his or her mind. There is no set time for the Court to act on the petitions.