The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency argues there is no need for the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to consider a lawsuit challenging a 36-year-old air permitting regulation because a three-judge panel correctly decided that environmental groups had not brought a timely challenge.

In the case Sierra Club de Puerto Rico v. EPA, the Sierra Club and other public health organizations asked the full court to reconsider the lawsuit. It alleges that a 1980 EPA rule includes an illegal exemption for certain industrial facilities under the nonattainment New Source Review Program.

A three-judge panel in March dismissed the lawsuit for lack of timeliness. The EPA supported the decision in a response brief that urged dismissal of the rehearing request.

Brendan Collins, a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, represents Energy Answers Arecibo, which intervened in the litigation in support of the EPA.