Industry Groups Urge Supreme Court To Ban EPA From Regulating CO2

(Credit: Philippe Lissac / GODONG)

Conservative states, business groups, fossil fuel companies, and politicians who deny the science of climate change are petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on greenhouse gases and to weaken the Clean Air Act. This would involve the Court either limiting or reversing its own 2007 decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, which found that the EPA is required to regulate carbon pollution as pollution.

Reuters reported that the Court’s decision of whether or not to take up the petitioners’ case will have a significant impact on future efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The appeals to the Supreme Court follow the DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ refusal to reconsider the matter. The Court is expected to decide whether to hear the petitions in October.

The nine petitions, filed over the last few months, seek review of EPA regulations. Petitioners include: states with fossil fuel-friendly governors like Texas, Alaska, and Virginia; industry groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Association of Manufacturers; as well as fossil fuel companies like Peabody Energy (the world’s largest private-sector coal company). The petition led by Texas includes as fellow petitioners Gov.Rick Perry (R), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), who deny the reality of climate science.

Since the Court ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, the EPA found that it was a threat to public health through an endangerment finding:

“Pursuant to CAA section 202(a), the Administrator finds that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare.”

In August of 2012, EPA implemented new mileage standards in order to regulate vehicles, and is expected to do the same with stationary sources — primarily power plants. These standards are already reaping benefits for drivers and manufacturers through increased efficiency, lower emissions, and wider inventory selection. Reducing carbon pollution emitted by power plants would slow the dangerous acceleration of climate change, improve air quality, and would be a net economic positive by avoiding “negative health and environmental effects.”

The wide range of petitions present an unusual number of options for the Supreme Court to rein in or overturn Massachusetts v. EPA (there were 5 petitions challenging the Affordable Care Act in 2011). The Court is more likely to take up one of the petitions on narrower grounds, as most experts see broad action as unlikely.

38 Responses to Industry Groups Urge Supreme Court To Ban EPA From Regulating CO2

  1. Ed Leaver says:

    Heh. Looks like a request for legislation from the bench,if you ask me. Meanwhile, the US Senate has unanimously confirmed Ernest Moniz as Secretary of Energy. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 10-8 to advance assistant administrator Gina McCarthy to head the EPA.

  2. Gus diZerega says:

    The right wing and its corporate allies are making it clear that their power is incompatible with a quality human existence.

  3. katy says:

    Climate research nearly unanimous on human causes, survey finds

    Of more than 4,000 academic papers published over 20 years, 97.1% agreed that climate change is anthropogenic

  4. Superman1 says:

    More Kabuki theater. There are three metrics that count: Supply; demand; CO2 emissions.

  5. Superman1 says:

    Supply: Every country with existing or nascent fossil fuel reserves is exploiting them as rapidly and thoroughly as possible, supported by industry. Demand: Citizens of the advanced countries are maintaining and expanding an energy profligate lifestyle, and citizens of developing nations are aspiring to such a lifestyle. Projections of government and industry show no letup in fossil fuel demand for decades into the future.

  6. Superman1 says:

    CO2 emissions have shown continual growth, with no serious curtailment efforts anywhere on the planet, and CO2 concentrations follow in step. The legal and political maneuvers are for theater only; they have had, are having, and will have zero impact. The electorate wants no different.

  7. Mike Roddy says:

    The Supreme Court is unlikely to even hear an appeal to overturn a ruling as recent as 2007, especially since the protests are so obviously coming from the oil companies. The Supremes work for the oil companies too, but prefer a lower profile.

    We have never heard Obama or anyone in his Administration express outrage at this naked attempt to dispute scientific evidence and act on behalf of predatory corporations. That’s our biggest problem right now. Roosevelt or Kennedy would have told the oil companies to get screwed, in public.

  8. Peter says:

    Next, they will want to remove restrictions on Sulfur Dioxide emissions because volcanoes emit it naturally.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Small correcto, Gus- ‘…is incompatible with…human existence’.

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When the going gets tough, the thuggees turn nasty. It’s double-down time now, as the Right’s world-system implodes, ecologically, economically and geo-politically. I’d say that a ‘Supreme Court’ that so openly stole a Presidential election in 2000 for the plutocracy will have few qualms ‘pushing the envelope’ as time goes, rapidly, by.

  11. Superman1 says:

    Mazel Tov! Good article. Again, look at the statistics. It has been posted fifteen hours, and has received five clicks. There was an article about a Mother who put her 3-year-old Son up for adoption on Craigslist, posted for nineteen hours, that received 581 clicks. Yours is 100 times the quality, with 100 less times the clicks.

  12. Superman1 says:

    While there is certainly media bias against publishing these types of climate-related articles, as my comment immediately above to you shows, there is relatively small interest in the readership to motivate the publishers to do more. No publisher interest, no readership interest; so, why are we surprised that little gets published?

  13. Superman1 says:

    David, On 15 May, I published a long comment on a Salon article titled “Media indifference enables global warming”. The comment was an extension of my previous Garden of Eden Parable, and provides a top-down system-level perspective on what is driving the integrated climate problem. You are a very good writer; if it is of interest to you, think about expanding it to a HuPo article.

  14. Joe Romm says:

    Uhh, no. There is immense reader interest in climate and clean energy, as I can attest. But posts must be featured to be seen.

  15. iyoumeweus says:

    Who gets to file a petition to the USSC? How is that done and what must it include? Why can not counter petitions be filed? Ts the a time requirement? If citizens are allowed to file petitions how simple can they be? Would a statement such as: [All carbon emissions (soot, ash and CO2)are dangerous to our health, well being and threaten our life and happiness] be enough?

  16. Bob h says:

    Now you’re asking the Court to get into questions involving chemistry, physics, and health science, and it does not have the competency to do that.

  17. MightyDrunken says:

    Nine appeals? sounds like an orchestrated effort.

  18. Superman1 says:

    Right. We face the potential of extinction by century’s end, and these ‘immensely interested’ readers can’t be bothered to expend the effort required to click on the Green page to see the climate change articles. I don’t know what’s worse; the lack of interest in climate change exhibited in many ways by the electorate, or the refusal to acknowledge the reality of this lack of interest by you and the Amen Corner here.

  19. Superman1 says:

    David, Per your HuPo article. You need to ask the Talmudic question: why hasn’t the President given such a speech? Further, Sen. Inhofe has something like twenty grandchildren, and reportedly is a doting grandfather. Why hasn’t he given a similar speech; I would suspect he cares no less for his grandchildren than Obama cares for his daughters. If they could do anything to insure their progeny have a long life, wouldn’t they?

  20. Superman1 says:

    The present political response on both sides of the aisle bears no relation to what is required to save us from extinction by century’s end. The existing explanations for this inaction do not hang together, particularly in light of the personal issues alluded to above. What could explain this discrepancy?

  21. Superman1 says:

    If there were any chance of avoiding the climate cliff, I believe both sides would be exhorting it to the maximum extent possible; while they may be more than willing to sacrifice our progeny, they tend to be protective of their own.

  22. Superman1 says:

    The only explanation that ties all these inexplicable actions together is that our leaders have been informed by the defense and intel world (who have access to much data that we do not) that we have already gone over the cliff, and the passage of the lag times will run out the clock. What other explanation could there be, which would allow them to do nothing while a real chance to save the biosphere existed? I cannot believe they would pass up such an opportunity.

  23. TRL says:

    killing our future one court descision at a time

  24. Joe Romm says:

    Apparently you are unaware of human history. Your explanation is the only one that makes no sense at all.

  25. Dusitn says:

    “The petition led by Texas includes as fellow petitioners Gov.Rick Perry (R), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)”

    Wow… now that’s an all-star team if I’ve every seen one

  26. Superman1 says:

    JR, Oh, how could I have forgotten? The history of this country is replete with examples of the rich and powerful allowing their progeny to be placed in harm’s way. Why, give me a month, and I could probably even think of one.

  27. David Goldstein says:

    Yes, along those lines, I have been vociferously advocating for my article today. I wrote to HUffPost, cajoling them to feature my story. I posted it over a Grist and the FB pages of Senator’s Whitehouse and Franken. A bunch of folks in the climate world have given me good feedback and asked to share/re-print it. I like the idea of a ‘Make the Speech’ campaign. Of course, I would be open to some editing in that case, my first presidential speech, after all!

  28. SecularAnimist says:

    It’s really too bad that the comment pages on this site have been virtually taken over by a defeatist troll who relentlessly copies-and-pastes the same, repetitive, boilerplate nonsense into dozens of posts, often replying to HIMSELF numerous times, and responds to anyone who points out that his claims have no basis in fact with insults and personal attacks, and even repeatedly insults the site’s lead author and moderators as “the Amen Corner”.

  29. David Goldstein says:

    I’ll check it out!

  30. BobbyL says:

    Emissions have been declining in the US and Europe. Emissions have continued to increase largely because of China which accounts for about 70% of the increase. The other developing countries account for basically the rest of the increase. Of course, the decreases in emissions in the US and Europe are nowhere near what is needed.

  31. BobbyL says:

    More evidence to support Gail Collin’s argument in her book As Texas Goes…How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.

  32. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I rather think that your speciality is Noh! theatre.

  33. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Defeatism is certainly a tool in the denialist/fossil fuel complex’s arsenal. You see it peddled more and more often these days, because the Right will never surrender to rationality, decency and morality-to do so is against their innate character.

  34. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    We could have had the universe and reigned for billions of years. We swapped it all for an SUV and a trip to Majorca.

  35. Superman1 says:

    When I talk about CO2 emissions, I talk about the only ones of interest to Mother Nature: global CO2 emissions. Mother Nature is not interested in the political games we play by exporting manufacturing and coal and associated responsibility for emissions to China, and then claiming we are making progress in reducing emissions. The total emissions are on a growth path for as far as the eye can see.

  36. Superman1 says:

    Your posting contains no fact and all invective – your only asset!

  37. accidentalfission says:

    Or even a pack of cigs, some plastic deck chairs, and a pallet of 2 litre Dr. Pepper from Sam’s Club.