Va. AG attacks EPA's stance on greenhouse gases

Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 20, 2011, 3:57pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, in a brief filed Monday, argues the federal Environmental Protection Agency did not follow its own rules in declaring that greenhouse gases are dangerous to human health.

Cuccinelli's brief was filed in District of Columbia Circuit Court in response to the EPA in his appeal of the agency's 2009 ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases are considered pollutants.

The attorney general argues the agency didn't follow its own rules when it used data from outside entities to arrive at its decision and without testing that data according to its own research standards.

"With respect to the original Endangerment Finding, the EPA so pervasively delegated its statutory functions that it lacked the information to ensure that its data quality standards were satisfied," he wrote.

His 23-page brief also contends that the EPA improperly denied Virginia and Texas' petition for reconsideration of the finding.

Cuccinelli's filing comes nearly a month after the release of the agency's own inspector general's investigation, which showed that the EPA did indeed fail to follow its own rules when it came to its conclusion.

In a statement released days after his office's report, Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. said all of its recommendations were "unresolved."

"The EPA disagreed with our conclusions and did not agree to take any corrective actions in response to this report," he said.

Cuccinelli said he has asked the agency since February 2010 to simply reopen its hearings and review its finding while following proper rules and procedures, and to allow new, conflicting evidence that has become available since its original finding.

"The EPA's failure to follow its own rules calls into question everything it has done. Whenever a government agency states a conclusion that is allegedly based on science, but refuses to comply with its own rules that require it to 'show its work,' we should all be concerned," he said.

The attorney general said he did not file suit against the federal government because he disagreed with its policy.

"I can only bring suit when the federal government does not follow the law or proper procedures," he said.

"When the EPA works within the bounds of its authority to enforce environmental regulations, I support its efforts to protect America's and Virginia's interests."

Besides Virginia and Texas, the 13 other states involved in the suit are Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, Michigan and Kentucky.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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