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Supreme Court Rules Against EPA's Refusal to Regulate Global Warming
KFA Press Release, Law Offices of Stephan C. Volker
April 2, 2007

North Coast Rivers Alliance: Frank Egger (415) 456-6356, fegger@pacbell.net
Desert Protection Society: Donna Charpied (760) 574-1887, laronna@earthlink.net
Westside Association to Save Agriculture: Dennis Hill (707) 480-7133
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance: Jim Crenshaw (530) 661-0997, crenshaw@cal.net
Klamath Forest Alliance: Kyle Haines, kfaeastside@yahoo.com
San Joaquin Audubon Society: Waldo Holt (209) 462-4438, waldoh@lycnet.com
Attorney: Stephan Volker (510) 496-0600, svolker@volkerlaw.com

For Immediate Release

Oakland, CA – Today a broad coalition of community organizations representing conservationists, farmers, fishermen and recreationists who participated as amici curiae in the global warming litigation before the United States Supreme Court applauded the High Court’s landmark ruling overturning the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 05-1120 (argued November 29, 2006; decided April 2, 2007).

The Supreme Court rejected all of EPA’s excuses for failing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. First, the High Court found that the petitioners (a coalition of twelve states, four local governments and thirteen environmental organizations) had standing to challenge EPA’s refusal to regulate greenhouse emissions. Second, the Court held that EPA had broad authority under Section 202 of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles. Third, the Supreme Court concluded that “EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to global climate change,” and therefore its refusal to regulate these emissions is “arbitrary, capricious . . . or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

Amici curiae North Coast Rivers Alliance, et al., who had filed an Amicus Curiae brief with the Supreme Court last August, applauded the High Court’s strong ruling. Noting that each of the arguments advanced in their Amicus Curiae brief had been accepted by the Supreme Court, the coalition’s attorney Stephan Volker praised the Supreme Court’s grasp of the relevant scientific principles, and vigorous enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s mandate that EPA regulate emissions that are linked to global warming: “The High Court refused to subordinate clear law and science to the Bush Administration’s transparent strategy of political expediency.” “EPA’s head-in-the-sand refusal to acknowledge the overwhelming body of science proving that climate change poses grave risks to planet Earth and is directly linked to greenhouse gas emissions has now been exposed as scientifically and legally bankrupt,” noted Mr. Volker. “The Administration may no longer dither while the Earth is literally and figuratively burning,” added Mr. Volker.

Amici curiae are environmental organizations with significant experience in studying, managing and protecting natural and cultivated resources in the states of California, Washington and Oregon, including mountains, deserts and agricultural lands, forests, lakes, estuaries and their ecosystems: North Coast Rivers Alliance, Desert Protection Society, Westside Association to Save Agriculture, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Save Medicine Lake Coalition, Klamath Forest Alliance, San Joaquin Audubon Society, North Cascades Conservation Council

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and as defined under the provisions of "fair use", any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research and for educational use by our membership.

Court Rebukes Administration in Global Warming Case
Associated Press, April 2, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ordered the federal government on Monday to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.

Greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the landmark environmental law, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his majority opinion.

The court's four conservative justices -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas -- dissented.

Many scientists believe greenhouse gases, flowing into the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate, are leading to a warming of the Earth, rising sea levels and other marked ecological changes.

The politics of global warming have changed dramatically since the court agreed last year to hear its first global warming case.

"In many ways, the debate has moved beyond this," said Chris Miller, director of the global warming campaign for Greenpeace, one of the environmental groups that sued the EPA. "All the front-runners in the 2008 presidential campaign, both Democrats and Republicans, even the business community, are much further along on this than the Bush administration is."

Democrats took control of Congress last November. The world's leading climate scientists reported in February that global warming is "very likely" caused by man and is so severe that it will "continue for centuries." Former Vice President Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth -- making the case for quick action on climate change -- won an Oscar. Business leaders are saying they are increasingly open to congressional action to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, of which carbon dioxide is the largest.

Carbon dioxide is produced when fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas are burned. One way to reduce those emissions is to have more fuel-efficient cars.

The court had three questions before it.

--Do states have the right to sue the EPA to challenge its decision?

--Does the Clean Air Act give EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases?

--Does EPA have the discretion not to regulate those emissions?

The court said yes to the first two questions. On the third, it ordered EPA to re-evaluate its contention it has the discretion not to regulate tailpipe emissions. The court said the agency has so far provided a "laundry list" of reasons that include foreign policy considerations.

The majority said the agency must tie its rationale more closely to the Clean Air Act.

"EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change," Stevens said. He was joined by his liberal colleagues, Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter, and the court's swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The lawsuit was filed by 12 states and 13 environmental groups that had grown frustrated by the Bush administration's inaction on global warming.

In his dissent, Roberts focused on the issue of standing, whether a party has the right to file a lawsuit.

The court should simply recognize that redress of the kind of grievances spelled out by the state of Massachusetts is the function of Congress and the chief executive, not the federal courts, Roberts said.

His position "involves no judgment on whether global warming exists, what causes it, or the extent of the problem," he said.

The decision also is expected to boost California's prospects for gaining EPA approval of its own program to limit tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. Federal law considers the state a laboratory on environmental issues and gives California the right to seek approval of standards that are stricter than national norms.

The case is Massachusetts v. EPA, 05-1120.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and as defined under the provisions of "fair use", any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research and for educational use by our membership.