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Thursday, October 17, 2013
Courts - "SCOTUS lets EPA’s climate authority stand, will review permitting question"
That headline is from this Washington Post blog post by Juliet Eilperin.
The LA Times story yesterday, by David G. Savage and Neela Banerjee, is headed "Supreme Court to hear challenge to EPA powers on greenhouse gases: Justices will decide whether the EPA's move beyond cars and trucks, to stationary sources such as power plants, is valid."
From Adam's Liptak's story yesterday in the NY Times [ILB emphasis]:
The Supreme Court accepted six petitions seeking review of that rejection, but it limited the issue it would consider to the question of whether the agency “permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouses gases.” Among the cases accepted for review was Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1146.Adding further clarity is this long story by Warren Richey in the Christian Science Monitor, headed "Landmark case? Supreme Court to review EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. The Supreme Court said Tuesday it would take up six petitions seeking review of EPA actions regarding greenhouse gases. But it will not take up the agency's so-called endangerment finding.
“The regulations the court has agreed to review represent the Obama administration’s first major rule making to address the emissions of greenhouse gases from major stationary sources across the country,” said Richard J. Lazarus, who teaches environmental law at Harvard. “At the same time, the court declined to review E.P.A.’s determination that greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles endanger public health and welfare and therefore has left intact the government’s current regulation of motor vehicles emissions to address climate change.”
In urging the court to hear a challenge on the issue the justices agreed to hear, trade groups said the regulation of “greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources represents the most sweeping expansion of E.P.A.’s authority in the agency’s history, extending its reach to potentially millions of industrial, commercial, and residential facilities across the country, at costs estimated to run into the tens of billions of dollars per year.”
Environmental groups reacted to Tuesday’s developments by emphasizing the regulations the justices had let stand.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny numerous further legal challenges to E.P.A.’s science-based determination that six greenhouse gases threaten our nation’s health and well-being is a historic victory for all Americans that are afflicted by the ravages of extreme weather,” Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. “The justices have also declined to hear legal challenges to the broadly supported clean car standards that will strengthen our nation’s energy security, cut carbon pollution and save families money at the gas pump. ”
Greg Abbott, attorney general of Texas, one of the states challenging the regulations, said in a statement that he welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate that “the E.P.A. violated the U.S. Constitution and the federal Clean Air Act when it concocted greenhouse gas regulations out of whole cloth.”
Here is the SCOTUSblog case page for Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, listing all the cases involved.
Finally, Lyle Denniston this morning posted on SCOTUSblog this entry, headed "Analysis: Greenhouse gases case." A sample:
After the Court’s review order came out Tuesday, it became clear immediately that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases on the premise that they contribute to heating up the planet and thus pose a threat to human health and to the environment, and that the agency definitely can curb such emissions from the exhausts of cars and trucks. Those powers, too, had been under challenge, but the Court turned aside those protests, leaving intact EPA’s rulings on those aspects.[More] "SUPREME COURT: Tricky permit issue seen splitting challengers to EPA climate rules." Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter, Greenwire story Wednesday.
What the Court did take on was a sharp new controversy over a policy that EPA has been following for thirty-three years, even before global warming was thought to be a problem. Since 1980, EPA has understood that once it decided to regulate any single kind of air pollution, it could reach out further and deal with all such pollutants and their sources. This, the agency has argued, follows from the simple fact that the Clean Air Act gives it power over “any air pollutant.”