2006/06/27

Supreme Court To Hear Massachusetts v. EPA

After losing in the US 2nd Circuit, the plaintiffs in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (12 states and 13 environmental advocacy groups) are going to have their appeal heard by the Supreme Court. But...this is a complex case and a win for either side may not prove to be all that was hoped for.

The administration defends their refusal to issue regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, required by the Clean Air Act, by claiming that the EPA lacks jurisdiction. However, if the states do win, then Bu$hCo's EPA will probably turn right around and issue laughably weak standards--standards that will preempt more stringent regulations already in place in California and the Northeast.

On the other hand, if Bu$hCo wins they will be able to continue to use the jurisdiction argument, but the ruling will unshackle the states. The states can then enforce any standards they see fit and can defend them by claiming that the Federal government has explicitly recused itself. In addition, a ruling for Bu$hCo will shoot any industry lawsuits against the states, usually based on the argument that only the Feds can regulate emissions, right through the heart.

5 Comments:

Kvatch..the feds do not question if they have the power to regulate, They state they do not believe that co2 emmissions are polluting(love that one) they also cover they ass by stating they have the ability to pick and choose what toxins they regulate..big difference from not having the power to regulate it.

3 Courts have ruled on this case and each one had at different outcome. Also, since it is now being heard in front of the Supremes, a host of other states have joined the case and three cities,plus several environmental groups.

This is the third case being heard by the Supremes regarding the EPA's lack of action regarding the Clean air & water act. They resoundingly lost on the other two, so the presidence is there for them to take it in the nads once again.
That's a little different from what I was talking about, because it's government, not industry, but it certainly will have to work out some of the definitional elements.

The next wave will probably be pacific islanders whose homes have gone under water.

Mike
I am sorry, I hit the submit button..The feds are also trying to play off that their "voluntary' standards are enough. This of course protects their buddies in the corporate world, since this is also about the emissions that result from burning coal and other toxins that spew into the air by result from various manufacturing companies. The LAT has a good,comprehensive article on this which you can view here:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-scotus27jun27,0,5830817.story?coll=la-home-headlines
And good ol' SFGate has a good writeup as well but I do not have the link handy. Sorry if I sound fucktarded, but I am on my husbands computer and this dialup bullshit has got to go... :p
Dusty, perhaps the use of the word "jurisdiction" was not quite right. What EPA actually said in their 2003 brief and what they argued in front of the 2nd Circuit was that -

... the Clean Air Act does not authorize the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. (SF Gate)

I have heard EPA make two supporting statements to this argument. First (as you pointed out) that C02 and other greenhouse gases are not pollutants that endanger the public's health. Second, that the wording of the act gives them no authority.

Either way, what the state's want--to force the EPA to regulate--may not get them what they desire and will have unintended consequences for California.
I found the SFGate article..and this is the line I was looking for:

"The administration maintains that carbon dioxide — unlike other chemicals that must be controlled to assure healthy air — is not a pollutant under the federal clean air law, and that even if it were the EPA has discretion over whether to regulate it."
So..their trying to cover their ass all the way around regarding not making mandatory levels for business's and vehicles. They are also attempting to use their voluntary measures as a catalyst to say their doing as much as they can..which is total bullshit with regards to manufacturer's polluting and vehicle pollution as well. They can't have it both ways.

The Sierra club atty said this in the SFGate article:
"This is the whole ball of wax. This will determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency is to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and whether EPA can regulate carbon dioxide from power plants," said David Bookbinder, an attorney for the Sierra Club."

Bookbinder said if the court upholds the administration's argument it also could jeopardize plans by California and 10 other states, including most of the Northeast, to require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles--So yes, if the courts rule against the states it could be a huge blow to states rights to regulate pollution.

As the "real" jerks in this case, the Oil industry stated:

""Fundamentally, we don't think carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and so we don't think these attempts (to require reductions) are a good idea," said John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group representing oil and gas producers."

Is anyone with an ounce of sense buying into their bullshit? afterall, they refuse to admit we have a global warming problem..

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