We didn’t need a court to tell us that greenhouse gas emissions are dangerous to public health.
Or did we? In any event, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down a decision hailed by the New York Times as a “decisive blow” against those who sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules.
Under the Clean Air Act, the federal government can impose rules and regulations governing the emission of greenhouse gases. This authority became more clear after the Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which essentially stated that greenhouse gases are an “air pollutant.”
The EPA promulgated regulations over emission standards for cars and light trucks (the Tailpipe Rule) and regulation over major stationary sources (such as rendering plants, for example) where certain facilities were obligated to obtain valid permits. Finally, the EPA introduced its Timing and Tailoring Rules which said that the permitting requirements would only initially apply to the largest stationary sources.
As you can imagine, several states and industry groups were up in arms over the new requirements. They took to the courts, claiming that these rules were arbitrary, capricious and based on improper construction of the Clean Air Act.
There were many arguments addressed in the 82-page decision, and we’re not going to go over all of them. But from an overall political (and sociological) standpoint, perhaps the most interesting argument raised by the EPA’s opponents was that science on global warming was wrong.
The three-judge panel shot down any arguments over the reliability of the scientific studies presented by the EPA.
The battle isn’t over yet. This was only a panel opinion and the full court has yet to be petitioned.