EPA won't reconsider greenhouse gases stance


RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's challenge to the federal government's conclusion that greenhouse gases are dangerous to humans has failed on the regulatory front.

However, his challenge remains alive in court.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected 10 petitions for reconsideration of its finding that carbon dioxide and other emissions contribute to global warming.

Instead, it reaffirmed its ruling that the gases are a danger to public health, rejecting petitions from two states, various industry groups -- like the Ohio Coal Association -- and conservatives who said it was based on shaky science.

One of those petitions was filed by the Virginia attorney general, a known global warming skeptic. His petition asked the EPA to overturn its finding.

Cuccinelli also has asked a federal appeals court to review the EPA's findings.

He said Thursday that the court is likely to find that EPA has considered new information without the public's knowledge.

"The attorney general has reviewed the EPA's press release announcing its denial of the rehearing petitions pending before the agency," he said in a statement.

"When the Office of the Attorney General has fully reviewed the ruling, the attorney general will make an additional statement. One thing, however, is immediately apparent -- the reviewing court is likely to find the decisions fatally flawed procedurally because the agency has reviewed and weighed new information without notice or comment from the public."

With the U.S. Senate abandoning climate measures in the energy bill until at least September, the agency has the authority to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants and fossil-fueled factories and vehicles.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the petitions were based on selectively edited data and provided no evidence refuting the agency's conclusions.

"The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world," Jackson said in a statement. "These petitions -- based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy -- provide no evidence to undermine our determination."

The agency received petitions from the following: the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Ohio Coal Association, the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Peabody Energy Company, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the State of Texas, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and one private citizen.

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform owns Legal Newsline.

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