Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lawsuit & Mixed Reactions On EPA's Endangerment Finding

Dec 7: The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) announced it will file suit in Federal court to overturn U.S. EPA's endangerment finding announced December 7 [See WIMS 12/7/09], on the grounds that EPA has "ignored major scientific issues, including those raised recently in the Climategate fraud scandal." [See WIMS 12/4/09]. Sam Kazman, CEI General Counsel said, “EPA is clinging for dear life to the notion that the global climate models are holding up. In reality, those models are about to sink under the growing weight of evidence that they are fabrications.”

Marlo Lewis, CEI Senior Fellow said, “Today’s decision by EPA will trigger costly and time-consuming permitting requirements for tens of thousands of previously unregulated small businesses under the Clean Air Act. A more potent Anti-Stimulus Package would be hard to imagine. The sensible solution would be for Congress to pass legislation, such as that proposed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee that would pre-empt the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.”

In announcing its findings, EPA said that "after a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments it has determined that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat." EPA noted that its "findings do not in and of themselves impose any emission reduction requirements but rather allow EPA to finalize the GHG standards proposed earlier this year for new light-duty vehicles as part of the joint rulemaking with the Department of Transportation. EPA indicated that on-road vehicles contribute more than 23 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions."

EPA’s final findings respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. The "endangerment finding" responds to the April 2, 2007, 5-4 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which decided the historic case about global warming (Massachusetts, et al. v. EPA, et al., No. 05-1120), and ruled that EPA has existing authority under the Federal Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles. Under the Bush Administration, EPA had refused to regulate such gases, arguing it lacked statutory authority [
See WIMS 4/2/07].

In other reactions to the EPA's findings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement saying, "The EPA has thoroughly reviewed the scientific literature on climate change, which spans decades of research across a breadth of disciplines and across the globe. The science is clear: global warming is real, its impacts are being felt around the world, and carbon emissions present a danger to public health and the economy worldwide. As the United Nations Climate Change Conference begins in Copenhagen today [
See WIMS 12/7/09], those who fear EPA regulation of global warming pollution will find the answer in the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the House this year. This legislation will give businesses both certainty and flexibility, help to minimize costs to companies and consumers as we transition to clean energy, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and stimulate investments that will create millions of clean energy jobs."

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement saying, "The endangerment finding released today confirms what we have been told by America's top scientists and leading scientists of the world --that unchecked global warming is perilous to human health and our environment. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that global warming pollution is covered under the Clean Air Act, the Bush EPA laid the groundwork for this endangerment finding, which has been completed by the Obama EPA. It is now clear that if we take our responsibility seriously to protect and defend our people from this threat, the Senate has a duty to act on climate change legislation that includes major components of the work done by the Energy and Environment Committees. In light of the EPA endangerment finding, the President's appearance in Copenhagen will carry even more weight, because it shows that America is taking this issue very seriously and is moving forward."

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works issued a statement and video saying, "The Administration's endangerment finding will lead to a wave of new regulations and bureaucracy that will wreak havoc on the American economy, destroy millions of jobs, and force consumers to pay more for electricity and gasoline. This bureaucratic nightmare is based on flawed science. Lisa Jackson, Obama's EPA Administrator, admitted to me publicly that EPA based its action today in good measure on the findings of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. She told me that EPA accepted those findings without any serious, independent analysis to see whether they were true. Of course, we now have thousands of emails showing several of the UN's top scientists apparently evading laws requiring transparency, defaming scientists with opposing viewpoints, and manipulating data to fit preconceived opinions. They cooked the science. . . "

He continued saying, "I agree with Sen. Joe Lieberman, who said of climategate, "We ought to be demanding that that be cleaned up. We ought to be angry about it. The endangerment finding also will have virtually no impact on global warming. That's because India and China, two of the world's leading emitters of CO2, are left out. . . So today the American people are getting a raw deal: all cost with no benefit. Yet, the Obama Administration is moving forward anyway. . ."

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen issued a statement saying, "What scientists have long known is now official U.S. policy: global warming pollution is real and has dangerous impacts on public health and the environment. The Obama administration's announcement today acknowledges that our nation must move quickly and efficiently to achieve the cuts in carbon dioxide and other global warming pollution needed to stave off catastrophic climate change. The time for talking is over; now is the time for taking action. EPA has based this decision under the Clean Air Act on overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming poses a significant threat. We will look to the administration to continue along this path and take the next important step of adopting strong rules that limit global warming pollution from motor vehicles and industrial polluters. . ."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester) issued a statement saying, "Today’s EPA announcement paves the way for Washington Democrats’ ‘cap-and-trade’ national energy tax, a bureaucratic nightmare that would make households, small businesses and family farms pay higher prices for electricity, gasoline, food and virtually every product made in America. One independent analysis determined that this national energy tax would cost our economy millions of jobs each year for the foreseeable future. What’s more, the timing of this announcement is yet another indication President Obama is preparing to unilaterally commit the United States to mandatory emissions cuts at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. If the President truly believes these job-killing mandates are in the nation’s best interests, he should slow down and first seek the advice and consent of the people’s elected representatives."

Access a release from CEI (
click here). Access a release from EPA on the finding (click here). Access EPA's Endangerment website for complete information and background (click here). Access a lengthy release from Speaker Pelosi with links to related information (click here). Access the statement from Senator Boxer (click here). Access the statement from Senator Inhofe (click here). Access a release from Earthjustice (click here). Access the statement from Representative Boehner (click here).