Reactions to Greenhouse Gas Ruling

June 28, 2012


In a surprisingly sweeping win for the Obama administration’s climate policies, a federal appeals court said Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency is “unambiguously correct” in the legal reasoning behind its regulation of greenhouse gases.

 The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit strenuously backed the EPA’s finding that the climate-altering emissions pose a danger to public health and welfare. It also upheld the agency’s early requirements for vehicles and new industrial plants while rejecting every challenge brought by a host of industry groups, states and other critics.In addition, the court approved the EPA’s attempts to narrow the number of companies that must comply with its greenhouse gas rules. And the three-judge panel rejected attacks on the EPA’s interpretation of climate science, including critics’ argument that the “Climategate” email scandal required the agency to reconsider its decisions.

The court even mocked the critics’ claim that the EPA had improperly “delegated” its scientific judgment to outside groups, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “This argument is little more than a semantic trick,” the judges wrote, adding that building on past research “is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.”

While opponents can try to take the case to the Supreme Court, EPA supporters hailed the scope and tenor of the ruling as a victory that should have staying power.

Aol Energy:

A federal appeals court has put climate change front-and-center in the Presidential election.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit June 26 strongly upheld a series of Environmental Protection Agency decisions over the last three years on regulating greenhouse gases.

EPA in March proposed GHG limits for new generating plants and other large emitters, but top EPA officials said limits for existing plants won’t be proposed till after the rules for new plants are final.

That means the most politically sensitive rules won’t be issued till after the November election, leaving the controversy smack in the middle of the ongoing campaigns.

Industry analysts say the GHG rules proposed so far effectively bar any new coal plants in the US, at the same time that other EPA rules, especially the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, may be the last straw forcing many older coal plants to shut.


federal court decision on Tuesday upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark rulings to control greenhouse gases was a decisive victory for the Obama administration and a devastating blow to polluters. It vindicated the administration’s strategy of controlling emissions through regulation and showed good sense at a time when both the agency and the science of global warming are under relentless Congressional attack.

Facing South:

A federal court has rejected Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that unregulated greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to human health and safety.

In an opinion issued yesterday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the EPA’s legal authority to limit industrial carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. Cuccinelli and other challengers had questioned the science behind the action.

“EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question,” the judges wrote.

Legal Planet:

There’s one more important point about today’s per curiam DC Circuit ruling that should be emphasized: the composition of the panel.  Two members were Clinton appointees: Judith Rogers and David Tatel.  But the third was the chief judge, David Sentelle, a Reagan appointee.  And not just any Reagan appointee.

Sentelle is probably the most right-wing judge on the circuit.  A former associate of Jesse Helms, he pulled the strings to extend the Whitewater investigation and get Ken Starr appointed as independent counsel.

Memo to state and industry petitioners, who have hired some of the best legal minds in the country: if you’ve lost David Sentelle, you’d better reconsider your legal strategy.

7 Responses to “Reactions to Greenhouse Gas Ruling”

  1. everything happens in america it seems as the internet is just about america,

    • otter17 Says:

      Well, the site is called Climate Crocks, and America is the primary source for quite a few crocks.

      Aside from that… be happy for us, dammit. This is a big deal for us. I know I am living it up this weekend.

  2. Bob – Love to hear from bloggers in UK, Australia, Italy, France, Germany,… Global Warming and Green tech are big in Europe and elsewhere and the struggle over ideas is just as ardent. Witness Monckton in Australia. Still, the US can lead or straggle in the efforts to reduce GHG and is important in the global effort. If US regulates GHG, its much easier to argue that others should, also.

  3. Martin Lack Says:

    Excellent. A rare victory for sanity (see my latest comment on another recent post).

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