5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals courtroom.

NEW ORLEANS—Arguments made by ExxonMobil’s lawyers to persuade judges to overturn parts of a landmark air pollution ruling were met with skepticism this fall.

On Nov. 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on ExxonMobil’s appeal of a decision holding it accountable for 16,386 days of violation of the Clean Air Act at its Baytown, Texas, oil refinery and chemical plant complex.

The company’s lawyers don’t deny that ExxonMobil violated the law. Instead, they claim the citizen plaintiffs don’t have standing to enforce the Clean Air Act in court.

“ExxonMobil is asking the appellate court to ignore decades of court decisions affirming the right of citizens who live next to industrial facilities and breathe their illegal pollution to insist, simply, that these facilities obey the law,” explained NELC Senior Attorney Josh Kratka.

A decision on Exxon’s appeal is expected sometime in early 2019.