Mass. v. EPA: A Recipe for Regulating Everything

By November 28, 2006Global Warming

Much news coverage of tomorrow’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA, in which environmentalist groups and a dozen states argue that the Executive Branch of the Federal Government has the authority to and therefore must regulate automobile emissions of carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

The NAM has joined several business groups in The CO2 Litigation Group to file an amicus brief against the enviro-appeal. Background, our October new release and a link to the full amicus can be found at our Beagle law-research site here.

To its credit, the Reuters story linked above notes an often-overlooked point, that the opponents (joining the EPA) also include states: Michigan, Texas, Idaho, North Dakota, Utah, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska and Ohio.

Tom Bray, the Detroit News columnist, has written an excellent column available here, arguing that the suit demanding EPA regulation of carbon dioxide:

  • Represents a bald effort to use the courts to circumvent the political process, where such decisions of common interest appropriately lie, and,
  • If upheld, would allow the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to regulate anything and everything toward the goal of a big-government-ruled environmental utopia.
  • If regulators can act on the basis of scientifically speculative threats, based on computer models that are deeply hostage to the assumptions of the modelers, what can’t government do? Global warming is thus the mother of all environmental scares, justifying political intervention in the economy on a scale only a diehard Marxist would have dreamed of.

    As Bray notes, cars are not the only — or even the major — producer of carbon dioxide in the modern, industrialized society. And we note: Living things exhale the gas!

    A Supreme Court ruling on behalf of the litigating states — in thrall to the perfecting powers of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government — could mean regulation without end, accruing ever and ever in search of unattainable and unmeasurable goals.

    What a warming thought.

    UPDATE: Marketplace, public radio’s anti-business business show, in tonight’s broadcast made exactly the invidious omission mentioned above, the one about state participation in the appeal against the EPA: “Environmental groups are allied with the states.” Yeah. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk. Everything sustained except accuracy.