Monday, April 02, 2007

Supreme Court rebukes Bush, industry in key environmental cases

Two stunning environmental victories today at the U.S. Supreme Court:

We will, of course, defer to our friends who were involved in litigating the cases, but a couple of quick thoughts:

In one historic case (Massachusetts v EPA) the High Court rebuked the Bush administration and ruled that the federal government does indeed have authority to regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

This is a big victory for planet earth. And it’s a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that carbon dioxide can be controlled under the Clean Air Act.

That means California and other states have the clear right to limit greenhouse gas emissions if the Bush administration won’t.

The U.S. EPA should move immediately to grant California’s request to put its vehicle standards for global warming pollution into effect.

If the Bush administration fails to do so, it will be obvious that the motivation is purely political.

And because the Bush administration has been so consistently recalcitrant, Congress should act promptly to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the other case (Environmental Defense Fund v Duke Energy), the High Court overturned a federal appeals court decision which could have crippled a key federal enforcement program against pollution from electric power plants.

This is a victory for good government, and a big defeat for the electric power industry.

The Bush administration has been trying to play this issue both ways – arguing to the High Court against Duke Energy’s position, while simultaneously preparing a rule change that would essentially side with Duke. (See at

The Bush administration ought to throw this industry-friendly rulemaking into the trash can and go back to enforcing the law.

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