Massachusetts v. EPA: A Few Links

By November 29, 2006Global Warming

Oyez, oyez, oyez! It sounds like the U.S. Supreme Court justices doled out the questioning fairly and forcefully to both sides in today’s oral arguments to decide whether the EPA can and should regulate vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The NAM has issued a news release on the case, with our Vice President of Litigation Quentin Riegel observing, “Congress has enacted several laws to begin to address the global warming debate, but the Clean Air Act is not one of them.”

The AP coverage of the oral arguments is here. Marketwatch reporting is here. Slate/NPR “Day by Day” scene-setter with Slate’s legal correspondent, Dahlia Lathwick, is here.

Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, witnessed the arguments and opines in the CEI’s Open Market blog:

I would predict that the EPA will win on the basis of Massachusetts not having standing. Moreover, even if EPA were to act on regulating CO2, the result would only be a minor reduction in emissions over the coming years. After all, it would take years to manufacture and sell new cars that have reduced CO2 emissions.

Case Western law professor Jonathan Adler, posting at the Volokh Conspiracy, covers the issue of standing, as well, sensibly enough to our non-legalized reading:

[The] overall structure of the Clean Air Act is a poor fit with greenhouse gas regulation. By this, I do not mean simply that it would be “inefficient,” but that it would not work. Certain provisions that could be triggered by a finding that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Act make no sense if applied to globally dispersed pollutants with global effects. In sum, if the FDA did not have the authority to regulate tobacco, as the Court found in Brown & Williamson, I think there is a strong argument that the EPA lacks the authority.

And Iain Murray of The National Review punches a hole in an argument full of, well, hot air:

From the Mass v EPA oral arguments today, I give you James R. Milkey of the State of Massachusetts:

Your Honor, once these [greenhouse gases] are emitted the laws of physics take over, so our harm is imminent in the sense that lighting a fuse on a bomb is imminent harm.

Now that’s climate science!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Russ George says:

    Planktos takes sides in Supreme Court Case on Regulation of “Global Warming “ CO2 by the EPA

    The Supreme Court ponders the case of whether the US EPA ought to begin regulation of CO2 as a cause of harm to the environment but the case seems to focus solely on the popular case of “global warming”. All sides ignore the oceans where the real and present harm and danger of high CO2 is now apparent.

    Indeed several justices have showed sympathy for the administration’s position opposing the case.

    “There is a lot of conjecture,” said Justice Antonin Scalia. “When is the predicted cataclysm?” he asked Milkey (Massachusetts Asst. Attorney General)

    “It is not so much a cataclysm as ongoing harm,” Milkey responded, and “there is nothing conjectural about that.”

    The fact is that presently high and rising CO2 in our atmosphere is causing an immediate global cataclysm. That cataclysm isn’t occurring in the familiar terrestrial atmospheric biome of the planet but rather in that 70+% of the planet Earth that are our oceans. First ocean acidification, a direct consequence of the long rising CO2 levels in our atmosphere, has made the oceans 10% more acidic over recent decades. Reports of the UK Royal Society (2005) report the beginning of a cataclysm of global mass extinction of sea life will be well underway by 2050 and profound by 2100.

    Secondly high CO2 has caused a great diminishment of wind blown terrestrial dust that reaches the ocean, starving the oceans of vital micronutrients. Scientific reports, with which there is no dispute, have clearly shown that this lost productivity has resulted in an ongoing cataclysmic change of state of the oceans from being a vastly effective CO2 sink via living plant life, to having lost the capacity to biologically fix and remove 4-5 billion tonnes of CO2 from the global atmosphere each year. This sum of CO2 is noteworthy for being a substantial portion of the “global warming” net problem with CO2, stated at 6-7 billion tonnes each year, it also represents a dramatic loss of food at the bottom of the ocean food chain. The loss of ocean productivity combined with over fishing have led to the recent cataclysmic reports of all seafood disappearing from our tables by 2048.

    Planktos implores the honorable Supreme Court Justices to see that the evidence is very clear that there is just the cataclysm they demand – clear, present, dangerous and well underway. It is imperative that we empower and charge our government with the duty to act immediately to restrain CO2 emissions, restore, and revive our oceans. It is insufficient to make excuses that we, as resident Earthlings of this small blue planet, need not do anything but argue political and legal semantics while the cataclysm progresses.

    With regard to the preposterous notion in the administrations legal maneuver to deny that the States have demonstrable losses do to high levels of anthropogenic CO2. It is clear by the plethora of ocean evidence that all of the coastal states that have historically derived revenue and benefits from their ocean fisheries that they have and will continue to suffer huge losses in this arena as a result of unabated high levels of CO2 pouring into our air and oceans from our rapacious appetite for fossil fuels.

    Planktos is a California company working to develop and deliver practical and affordable solutions to the global ocean and climate crisis by restoring Earthly ecosystems on land and at sea.

    For more information contact: Russ George, Planktos Inc. 1151 Triton Dr. Foster City, CA 94404