Wednesday, February 17, 2010

States challenge EPA endangerment finding

The recent controversies about climate change research have emboldened some states to take on the Obama administration and more specifically, the EPA.  On Tuesday, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that his state is taking legal action against the EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.  From the governor's website:
“Texas is aggressively seeking its future in alternative energy through incentives and innovation, not mandates and overreaching regulation,” Gov. Perry said. “The EPA’s misguided plan paints a big target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ. This legal action is being taken to protect the Texas economy and the jobs that go with it, as well as defend Texas’ freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach.”

The state has filed a Petition for Review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and will also file a Petition for Reconsideration with the Environmental Protection Agency, asking the administrator to review her decision. The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws.

Texas has a record of working proactively to protect natural resources and improve environmental quality. We have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 46 percent, cut ozone levels by 22 percent and reduced carbon dioxide emissions more than nearly every other state, all without government mandates or extravagant fines. Rather than making traditional energy sources more expensive, Texas leaders continue to support making alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use and removing barriers to innovation and competition.

“With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Prominent climate scientists associated with the IPCC were engaged in an ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research, and manipulate temperature data. In light of the parade of controversies and improper conduct that has been uncovered, we know that the IPCC cannot be relied upon for objective, unbiased science – so EPA should not rely upon it to reach a decision that will hurt small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and the larger Texas economy.”
Virginia's new attorney general announced yesterday that he had petitoned the EPA to reconsider its position on greenhouse gases.  The Washington Post reports:
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) on Tuesday filed paperwork attacking the legal underpinnings of an Obama administration effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, joining a crowd of political conservatives and business groups with similar objections.

Cuccinelli sent a petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking the agency to reconsider its finding in December that greenhouse gases pose a danger to public health by contributing to climate change. That finding is a legal trigger, which would allow the EPA to regulate those gases under the Clean Air Act, the same way it regulates the pollutants that cause smog.

Cuccinelli also filed a separate petition asking a federal court to review the EPA's finding.

In a news release, Cuccinelli's office said the EPA should review its findings because of "newly available information." In a telephone interview Tuesday, a spokesman for Cuccinelli would not comment on that information. He said Cuccinelli would explain in a news conference in Richmond on Wednesday.

Cuccinelli's petition seemed to be his boldest stroke since he took office last month, after a campaign in which he promised to use the attorney general's office to pursue conservative goals.
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute website, Alabama attorney general Troy King also filed a similar petition on behalf of his state on Tuesday.

Coincidentally, Tuesday was the deadline for filing legal challenges to the EPA's December 15 endangerment finding.

Legal challenges have already been filed by the U.S.Chamber of Commerce, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Coalition for Responsible Regulation Inc., Massey Energy Company, Alpha Natural Resources Inc., the National Beef Cattlemen's Association, Peabody Energy Corp., American Iron and Steel Institute, and Gerdau Ameristeel Corp. and other industry groups.


  1. Don't mess with Texas!

    And others with backbone.

  2. Could they will also challenge the same conclusion, reached by the Bush Administration EPA? The one which the White House CEQ office never opened the e-mail document.

    "Generally, it's useful to show," (political appointee) Burnett said. "This is not a partisan matter. It's not that the science of climate change depends on the administration in power. Under the Bush administration, it was clearly the case that greenhouse gases endanger the public, and during this administration, it's also clearly the case. And it's also clearly the case going forward."