States want to have their say in challenge of Clean Air Act

John O'Brien Jan. 25, 2010, 4:53pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Sixteen states and New York City are hoping to intervene in the challenge of an Environmental Protection Agency ruling that determined carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

Sixteen state attorneys general signed a motion to intervene in the suit, filed by industry groups in December in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The EPA published an Endangerment Finding in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA.

The motion to intervene says the EPA may settle the case in a way that is not in the states' interests.

"The Proposed Intervenors are requesting leave to intervene in this action under... because the Court's action on the petition for review will affect the public health and welfare of their residents and will also affect a host of global warming impacts that the Proposed Intervenors are suffering, and will continue to suffer, in the future," the motion says.

The Supreme Court decision gave the EPA the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles under the Clean Air Act. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, recently introduced a bill that would prevent the EPA from taking any regulatory action.

Attorneys general joining Massachusetts' Martha Coakley in hoping to intervene are from the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

"The Endangerment Finding marked the end of an era in which the federal government refused to acknowledge that anything could or should be done about global climate change. We are confident that the court will uphold the EPA's action and that the EPA will press forward with its plan to begin regulation of greenhouse gases," Coakley said.

"While we continue to hope that Congress will enact effective and comprehensive legislation to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we firmly believe that the EPA has an important role to play whether or not Congress acts and we cannot afford to wait."

The National Cattlemen Beef's Association was one of several groups and businesses that filed the challenge Dec. 23.

"EPA's finding is not based on a rigorous scientific analysis; yet it would trigger a cascade of future greenhouse gas regulations with sweeping impacts across the entire U.S. economy," said Tamara Thies, chief environmental counsel.

"Why the Administration decided to move forward on this type of rule when there's so much uncertainty surrounding humans' contribution to climate change is perplexing."

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