Mass. v. EPA: A State of Omission

By November 30, 2006Global Warming, Media Relations

In their coverage of yesterday’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Massachusetts v. EPA regulation case, both The Washington Post and New York Times framed the conflict as one of the states and environmental groups fighting the EPA.

Neither story mentioned a salient fact, prominently reported in other media coverage: There are states who agree with the EPA that the federal agency does not have authority to regulate vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. Here is the respondents’ brief to the Supreme Court from the states of Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Ohio. (Idaho is also on their side, but did not join in the brief.)

The Post and Times’ coverage leaves a false impression that the regulation-supporting states — those brave defenders of federalism — are opposed by the insensitive, unresponsive, pro-pollution, pro-global-warming EPA and their masters — or is it minions? — among business groups. But in fact, the states listed above agree with the EPA’s position. States are on BOTH sides of the issue.

You wouldn’t know that from reading today’s WaPo or NYT.

UPDATE: NAM’s Vice President for Litigation Quentin Riegel talks about the case in this mp3 sound file. About three minutes worth.