Appeals Court gives green light to EPA carbon pollution standards, rejects claims of polluters and climate-science deniers

Big news [Friday] from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which just gave the green light to implementing EPA’s first carbon pollution standards in January.  The court flatly rejected the efforts by America’s biggest carbon polluters and the State of Texas to block all of EPA’s efforts to begin curbing the dangerous pollution that causes global warming under the nation’s clean air laws.

NRDC’s David Doniger has the story in this re-post:

A rogues’ gallery of science-denying coal and oil companies, industry lobbyists and trade associations, right-wing advocacy groups, Tea Party funders, and ultra-conservative elected officials sued EPA to stop  every major action EPA has taken over the last two years to start reducing carbon pollution – the science-based “endangerment” finding, the historic standards for new cars, and the first limits on carbon pollution from the biggest new power plants and factories.

Over the last year, these cases have served as fashion accessories to dress up the lobbying campaign aimed at getting Congress to overturn the Clean Air Act and block EPA from doing its job under the Supreme Court’s 2007 global warming decision in Massachusetts v. EPA.

But now that strategy has backfired.

You see, the polluters and science-deniers can say anything they want in press releases and lobbying letters to Congress.  Especially these days, when lobbying and politics take place in a fact-free zone.

But when you go to court, you have to prove your case.  And they’ve failed.

They filed hundreds of pages of briefs and affidavits with wild claims that construction will be stopped all across the country and that the economic recovery will be strangled.

The court didn’t buy any of it.  In the order today denying the stays, the court said this:

Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review. “¦ Specifically, with regard to each of the challenged rules, petitioners have not shown that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative, or that the alleged harms will directly result from the actions which the movants seek to enjoin.

Note that the court said with regard to “each of the challenged rules.”  That means the court found no merit in their attack on the science behind EPA’s endangerment finding, no merit in their attack on the landmark clean car standards, and no merit in their attack on the requirement for available and affordable pollution control technology on big new factories.

This is no surprise, since the clean car standards (which are supported by the auto industry) are going to save the average new car buyer $3000.  And all that’s required of the biggest new factories is to do what’s available and affordable to reduce emissions – something they’ve been doing for other pollutants for decades.  Every state but Texas is ready to issue pollution permits for big new sources.  And the industries utterly failed to prove that the economic sky is falling.

This is a victory for every American who wants cleaner cars and less pollution from our factories.

David Doniger is the policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center and their chief global warming lawyer. This is re-post from NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

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11 Responses to Appeals Court gives green light to EPA carbon pollution standards, rejects claims of polluters and climate-science deniers

  1. Chad says:

    Yes, a few filthy industries will be harmed, but about as many clean industries will be helped. If ignoring the latter and just presenting the former is the best argument the deniers can come up with, they are pretty pathetic.

  2. BillD says:

    It’s really good to confirm that courts don’t base their opinions on blogs and opinion polls. Just like the Dover, Pa case against teacher “intelligent design” as science.

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Not all news are bad news these days.

  4. Coming on top of the Californian vote against Proposition 23, this is good news: there is hope for you, yet, America.

  5. Ellie Cohen says:

    Good news, indeed. However,per this NYT article, it seems the EPA’s new carbon pollution regulations will not go into effect in January . Will any carbon restrictions go into effect in January?

    E.P.A. Delays Tougher Rules on Emissions By JOHN M. BRODER and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG December 9, 2010
    “The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers — as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.

    “The move to delay the rules, announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, will leave in place policies set by President George W. Bush. President Obama ran for office promising tougher standards, and the new rules were set to take effect over the next several weeks.”


  6. Cinnamon Girl says:

    The appellate decision isn’t much of a surprise really, but of course we’ve been conditioned to expect the worst. The petitioners might as well have submitted the the Wizard of Oz script as the pathetic argument they presented. Hmmm, I wonder where the “The Socialists are Coming” crowd is when a state–cough, Texas, cough–wastes taxpayer money essentially to do private industry’s bidding in a case like this. Thanks Perry and Abbott for wasting taxpayer dollars, you dishonest piles of goat droppings.

  7. J Bowers says:

    EPA rocks.

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    EPA chief Lisa Jackson braces for battle with Congress over climate change regulations

  9. paulm says:

    I always thought that the Gov/EPA/Someone should have taken the deniosaurs to the courts 5-10yrs ago. The science was always right.

  10. Not A Lawyer says:

    @Ellie — EPA delayed its smog and air toxics standards/rules. Those are separate from any GHG regulations. Starting in January, GHGs will be part of permits for some large stationary sources (power plants, refineries, etc.), with the requirements expanding out to more in June or July.

  11. Ellie Cohen says:

    Thanks “Not A Lawyer”