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Court Gives Green Light to EPA Carbon Pollution Standards, Rejects Polluters' and Climate-Deniers' Claims

David Doniger

Posted December 10, 2010 in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming

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Big news today from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which just gave the green light to implementing EPA’s first carbon pollution standards in January.  The court flatly rejected attempts by America’s biggest carbon polluters and the State of Texas to block all of EPA’s efforts to begin curbing the dangerous pollution that causes global warming under the nation’s clean air laws.

A rogues’ gallery of science-denying coal and oil companies, industry lobbyists and trade associations, right-wing advocacy groups, Tea Party funders, and ultra-conservative elected officials sued EPA to stop  every major action EPA has taken over the last two years to start reducing carbon pollution – the science-based “endangerment” finding, the historic standards for new cars, and the first limits on carbon pollution from the biggest new power plants and factories

Over the last year, these cases have served as fashion accessories to dress up the lobbying campaign aimed at getting Congress to overturn the Clean Air Act and block EPA from doing its job under the Supreme Court’s 2007 global warming decision in Massachusetts v. EPA

But now that strategy has backfired.

You see, the polluters and science-deniers can say anything they want in press releases and lobbying letters to Congress.  Especially these days, when lobbying and politics take place in a fact-free zone. 

But when you go to court, you have to prove your case.  And they’ve failed.

They filed hundreds of pages of briefs and affidavits with wild claims that construction will be stopped all across the country and that the economic recovery will be strangled.

The court didn’t buy any of it.  In the order today denying the stays, the court said this:

Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review. … Specifically, with regard to each of the challenged rules, petitioners have not shown that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative, or that the alleged harms will directly result from the actions which the movants seek to enjoin.

Note that the court said with regard to “each of the challenged rules.”  That means the court found no merit in their claims of harm from EPA’s endangerment finding, no merit in their claims of harm from the landmark clean car standards, and no merit in their claims of harm from the requirement to put available and affordable pollution control technology on big new factories.

This is no surprise, since the clean car standards (which are supported by the auto industry) are going to save the average new car buyer $3000.  And all that’s required of the biggest new factories is to do what’s available and affordable to reduce emissions – something they’ve been doing for other pollutants for decades.  Every state but Texas is ready to issue pollution permits for big new sources.  And the industries utterly failed to prove that the economic sky is falling.

This is a victory for every American who wants cleaner cars and less pollution from our factories.  

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Comments

robert hauslerDec 10 2010 07:03 PM

give the epa the bums rush

Gretchen HealyDec 11 2010 01:40 AM

Halleluja!!!!!! Common sense wins something at the expense of those with deep pockets.

Steve FrazerDec 13 2010 02:07 PM

We have been hopeful. Maybe in another 20 years we can look back and measure the benefit of this decision.

Our business partners and our firm are planting 10B trees over the coming decade. They will help clean the air beyond processing CO2.

A step at a time.

http://etcgreen.com

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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