Kim Strassel’s “Potomac Watch” column in today’s Wall Street Journal is based on an interview with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, reacting to the climate science e-mail controversy. It’s Inhofe who gives Strassel’s column its title, “‘Cap and Trade Is Dead’,” arguing that politics and the now the scientific scandal from East Anglia makes climate-control legislation impossible. That’s Congress, but …

There’s still the EPA, which is preparing an “endangerment finding” that would allow it to regulate carbon on the grounds it is a danger to public health. It is here the emails might have the most direct effect. The agency has said repeatedly that it based its finding on the U.N. science—which is now at issue. The scandal puts new pressure on the EPA to accede to growing demands to make public the scientific basis of its actions.

Mr. Inhofe goes so far as to suggest that the agency might not now issue the finding. “The president knows how punitive this will be; he’s never wanted to do it through [the EPA] because that’s all on him.” The EPA was already out on a legal limb with its finding, and Mr. Inhofe argues that if it does go ahead, the CRU disclosure guarantees court limbo. “The way the far left used to stop us is to file lawsuits and stall and stall. We’ll do the same thing.”

An EPA endangerment finding and implementation of CO2 emission limits through a “tailoring rule” is legally suspect, to be sure, as an attempt by the Executive Branch to rewrite the Clean Air Act. Still, all the statements from the EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson have pointed in that direction.
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