Monday, April 19, 2010

Virginia & Alabama Challenge Data Basis For EPA CO2 Regs

Apr 16: Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, II, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia, filed a motion to attempt to compel the U.S. EPA to open hearings so that evidence can be presented that may show the data the Agency relied on to enact carbon dioxide regulations is faulty. A release from the Attorney General indicates that the motion is part of the existing lawsuit Virginia has against the EPA over its finding that carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is a danger to public health and welfare (i.e. the "endangerment finding).  Cuccinelli filed the motion jointly with the State of Alabama in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. 

    In February, Cuccinelli filed a motion with EPA, asking the Agency to reopen its hearings to consider new climate change data in light of the "Climate-gate scandal," emphasizing that the scandal broke after the Agency closed its hearings on "greenhouse gas" regulation in August 2009. A release from Cuccinelli indicates that earlier this month, EPA seemed to indicate that it does not intend to reopen hearings when it announced its intention to issue new emissions standards on cars and light duty trucks based on the same discredited data. As a result, the attorney general is now asking the court to compel the EPA to reopen hearings to allow for the full development of an accurate record.

    The release indicates that, "In the wake of the Climate-gate scandal, where emails were leaked from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia in Great Britain, several of the world's prominent climatologists admitted that they manipulated data to overstate the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment.  Based on the EPA's initial hearings and on the faulty global warming data on which it relied, the agency concluded that carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases' are dangerous pollutants.  The endangerment finding allows the EPA to strictly regulate carbon dioxide and these other gases."

    The release says that, "EPA's regulation of carbon dioxide could end up costing businesses and every Virginian household hundreds of millions of dollars in potentially unnecessary fees and increased energy costs, and could price industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and others out of business, destroying the jobs they provide to Virginians. Costs to Virginia households to heat homes, buy groceries, and power appliances are projected to increase by thousands of dollars a year under the likely regulations." Cuccinelli said, "Whatever the final decision is by the EPA, we want it to be based on sound scientific data, not data that has been sifted through a political filter."

    The motion was filed Thursday, April 15, because that was the deadline to do so. Cuccinelli indicated that, "Section 307 of the Clean Air Act permits the court to remand when it is clear that newly available evidence should be considered by the agency. To proceed only on the evidence currently in the record could be a waste of time and resources, given the likelihood that an appeal of the suit would prevail, and the new evidence would likely be included eventually."

    Access a release from the VA Attorney General and link to the Joint Motion to Remand and further information about the initial February challenge to the EPA (click here). Access various WIMS postings on climategate (click here).