For Immediate Release, December 10, 2010
Contact: Kevin Bundy, (415) 436-9682 x 313
Court Rejects Industry Bid to Halt Greenhouse Gas Regulations
WASHINGTON— The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals today denied an attempt by industry groups and the state of Texas to halt implementation of greenhouse gas regulations developed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the federal Clean Air Act. The court’s order found that industry’s allegations of harm supposedly caused by the regulations were “speculative” rather than “certain,” and thus failed the legal test for issuing a “stay,” or suspension, of the regulations.
“For months big polluters and their friends in states like Texas have been indulging in irresponsible scare tactics, making absurd claims that the EPA’s modest attempts to address global warming will cause economic chaos,” said Kevin Bundy, senior attorney of the Center for Biological Diversity, which is a party to lawsuits connected with the issue. “The court rightly rejected industry’s claims of harm as speculative and unsubstantiated.”
The stay motions rejected by the court today sought suspension of several EPA actions, including the agency’s science-based finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare; its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and trucks; and its rules requiring the largest major “stationary” sources of greenhouse gases — sources like refineries and power plants — to obtain permits and show they’re using the best available emissions-control technology before undertaking construction or making major modifications. Those rules will now go into effect as planned on Jan. 2, 2011.
“The Obama administration has both the authority and the responsibility to use successful, existing laws like the Clean Air Act to reduce global warming emissions,” said Bundy. “As the United Nations climate talks in Mexico wind up this weekend, it's clearer than ever that a critical gap remains between the emissions cuts proposed thus far and the reductions scientists agree are necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
“The court’s decision signals that the Obama administration needs to stop hiding behind congressional inaction and fully implement the tools it already has to combat global warming,” said Bundy. “The world is waiting for the United States to show some ambition, and now is the time to show it.”
Today’s order was issued in three separate cases captioned Coalition for Responsible Regulation, et al. v. EPA (nos. 09-1322 and consolidated cases, 10-1073 and consolidated cases, and 10-1092 and consolidated cases). The Center for Biological Diversity has challenged the EPA’s intended schedule for regulating greenhouse emissions from stationary sources but is also participating in the lawsuit to defend the EPA’s authority to regulate such emissions. A copy of the order is available here.