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18 States, EDF Sue EPA for Ignoring Supreme Court

Posted 04.02.2008

April 2, 2008 was a big news day for global climate change: Major media reported Barack Obama saying, if elected, he’d hire Al Gore help the U.S. manage the country’s climate change strategy. A no-brainer, but it’s good to hear the two talk about the subject of how the U.S. should implement strategies to reduce global warming.

U.S. Supreme Court building

Bigger news is 18 states and environmental groups like Environmental Defense Fund together have filed a law suit against the U.S. EPA for inaction on regulating carbon dioxide. They’re asking federal courts to mandate EPA to take the necessary next steps within 60 days.

One year ago, the Supreme Court ruled against the EPA, essentially saying not only did it have authority, it had an obligation to regulate carbon dioxide via the federal Clean Air Act.

No surprise, Texas is not on the list of plaintiffs, but Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland and Minnesota are. Three cities also joined the suit. (Did they invite Austin mayor Will Wynn?).

It’s not unusual for governments and NGOs to sue EPA to do their job. I remember working at the American Lung Association in 1991 when the public health group joined a similar suit to get EPA to revise the health standards for smog ozone. Guess what? It worked.

Is the climate change law suit political? Of course. It appears EPA shifted the Bali Roadmap into ‘neutral’ and will now coast all the way until the next Administration takes over.

Perhaps the silver lining is the feds and states know how to regulate industry and motorists through the Clean Air Act. Creating a new “Climate Change Act” would be a nightmare of regulations worse than what we’ve got.

A good question worth debating is, should federal agencies be allowed to sit back and do nothing for more than a year after our Supreme Court gave it a mandate?