Tuesday, January 26, 2010

States Seek To Join Endangerment Finding Lawsuit

Jan 22: Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced that it was leading a coalition of 16 states and New York City, in filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by industry groups last fall to challenge U.S. EPA's Endangerment Finding. The Endangerment Finding, announced December 7 [See WIMS 12/7/09 & Multiple Articles], is the Agency's formal determination that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cause climate change and as a result may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare. EPA published the Endangerment Finding in response to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. The finding is the first step towards regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The filing signals the states’ intention to join with the EPA in defending EPA’s decision. The motion was filed in the Federal Appeals Court in Washington, DC.

Joining Massachusetts in the motion to intervene were the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the City of New York. Attorney General Coakley, who recently lost her run for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat to [
See WIMS 1/20/10] Republican Scott Brown said, “The Endangerment Finding marked the end of an era in which the federal government refused to acknowledge that anything could or should be done about global climate change. We are confident that the court will uphold the EPA’s action and that the EPA will press forward with its plan to begin regulation of greenhouse gases. While we continue to hope that Congress will enact effective and comprehensive legislation to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we firmly believe that the EPA has an important role to play whether or not Congress acts and we cannot afford to wait.”

On December 23, 2009, industry groups from various sectors (e.g., Massey Energy Co., National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Alpha Natural Resources Inc., etc.) filed a single petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Petitioners have not yet identified the specific issues they intend to raise, but Attorney General Coakley’s Office intends to argue that the legal and scientific basis for the EPA’s Endangerment Finding is sound and should be upheld. Assistant Attorney General Carol Iancu, and Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett, both of Attorney General Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division are handling the case.

In announcing its participation in the industry groups' lawsuit in December, Tamara Thies, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said, “EPA’s finding is not based on a rigorous scientific analysis; yet it would trigger a cascade of future greenhouse gas regulations with sweeping impacts across the entire U.S. economy. Why the Administration decided to move forward on this type of rule when there’s so much uncertainty surrounding humans’ contribution to climate change is perplexing.”

NCBA cited the so-called "Climategate" issue saying, "'Climategate' revealed that the data on which the EPA relied to make this finding is questionable and may have been manipulated to tell a story that global warming alarmists wanted to tell. The fact that the EPA is ignoring this scandal is not going to make it go away.” NCBA also said that as was evident in Copenhagen, "other countries around the world like China and India are unwilling to tie the hands of their economic engines and impose these kinds of costs on their citizens.”

Access a release from the MA AG (
click here). Access a release from NCBA with links to additional information (click here).

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