Federal court upholds greenhouse gas rules
This is not unexpected. The EPA drew up those rules based on a Supreme Court ruling that gave them the power to regulate CO2.
Still, the legal outlook for a reversal is bleak. Congress itself will have to repeal these incredibly damaging regulations.
A federal appeals court has upheld Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations, a victory for the Obama administration that's also sure to inflame election-year political battles over the White House green agenda.
Environmentalists heralded the three-judge panel's unanimous 82-page ruling that leaves intact EPA's first-time regulations and authority to craft future rules to help combat global warming.
"Today's ruling by the court confirms that EPA's common sense solutions to address climate pollution are firmly anchored in science and law," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. "This landmark decision will help secure a healthier and more prosperous future for all Americans."
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld EPA's "endangerment finding" that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health and welfare - a finding that provides the underpinning for regulation of emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks and other sources.
The court left intact EPA's rules on carbon emissions from automobiles, and the "tailoring rule" that shields smaller stationary sources from greenhouse gas permitting that the EPA is using to target emissions from big sources like power plants.
Knocking down the tailoring rule might have created a chaotic, uncertain path ahead for emissions regulations by opening up massive numbers of businesses and other facilities to regulation.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson applauded the ruling, calling it a "strong validation" of the agency's work on greenhouse gases.
The key for the EPA is that they have been granted power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The draconian enforcement provisions in that bill gives the EPA almost unlimited power to set standards, punish violators, and gum up the economy. It will take years to get approval to build a new power plant, or factory because approvals will come on a case by case basis.
The judges didn't give EPA opponents anything to grab on to in that decision. This does not bode well for an appeal to the Supreme Court where the justices have already ruled EPA has the power to regulate greenhouse gases.