Last week, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson — citing “sound policy considerations — wrote a memo declaring “that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant to be regulated when approving power plants.” On Monday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, wrote Attorney General Mike Mukasey a letter demanding that he ensure that Johnson withdraw “his blatantly illegal memo”:
I am writing to request that as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, you intervene immediately with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson to ensure that he withdraws his blatantly illegal memo. […]
The Johnson document presents as arguments against including carbon dioxide emissions in a Clean Air Act permit the same kind of transparent excuses for inaction on global warming pollution that both the Supreme Court and the Environmental Appeals Board flatly rejected in their respective opinions.
Boxer points out that the memo “flies in the face” of the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision. As conservative legal scholar Jonathan Adler acknowledged, “Under that decision, the EPA is effectively obligated to begin the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.”