May 8, 2013
Is the Clean Air Act so badly flawed that it will cripple environmental enforcement and economic development alike unless the EPA and its state counterparts defy clear statutory provisions or, alternatively, spend $21 billion a year to employ an additional 320,000 bureaucrats?
That is a central issue in a recent lawsuit by the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a host of lawmakers and several companies.
They are petitioning the Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision upholding the EPA’s global warming regulations. The litigation challenges the EPA’s interpretation of both the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court’s April 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA decision. In that case, the Court held the EPA must determine whether greenhouse gas emissions may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.
If so, the EPA must establish greenhouse gas emission standards for new motor vehicles. In part, the Court based its ruling on the assumption an endangerment finding would not lead to “extreme measures.” At most, cars might get better gas mileage. What’s not to like?
But in July 2008, the EPA argued it might also have to establish greenhouse gas emission standards for aircraft, marine vessels, non-road vehicles, fuels and numerous industrial source categories. It might even have to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for greenhouse gases. In short, an endangerment finding could empower the EPA to implement an economy-wide de-carbonization program without having to clear any of it with Congress. Somehow none of this was discussed in Mass. v. EPA.
But wait, it gets weirder. In October 2009, the EPA acknowledged that regulating greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act leads to “absurd results” and “administrative impossibility.”
Read the full article online here.