In November, the issue of EPA’s refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions went before the Supreme Court. Yesterday, the decision (PDF) was announced — 5-4 in favor of Massachusetts, meaning that the EPA does have the authority and responsibility to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. In short, the time to act is now!
In the chutzpah department, EPA actually tried to argue that 1) “any EPA regulation of motor-vehicle emission” was a “piecemeal approach to climate change that would conflict with the President’s comprehensive [!] approach” — comprehensive, I suppose, in the sense that he refuses to take any substantive action in every sector, and 2) such regulation “might hamper the President’s ability to persuade key developing nations to reduce emissions” — a particularly amazing argument, since the president has been working hard behind the scenes to persuade key developing nations not to reduce emissions. Justice Stevens, writing for the majority, made short work of those absurd arguments.
To read more about the decision, check out the Massachusetts Attorney General’s page and the Supreme Court blog. A number of Congressmen have also commented, including Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bingaman (D-N.M.), who said, “The President no longer has a legal argument that the law prevents him from beginning to address the problem.”
Exactly: the judicial branch has been heard, both sides of Congress are working up a storm, and even the state-level campaigns are expected to get a boost (most notably California’s efforts to increase tailpipe emission standards). Given the 110th Congress’ track record of hearings uncovering the Bush Administration’s extensive climate-censorship policy, the cards are stacked heavily against the executive branch, as they should be on this most important of issues.