Saturday, April 07, 2007

U.S. Supreme Court -- protector of the environment?

This can't be what movement conservatives expected from a court filled with Reagan, Bush I and Bush II appointees.

In two separate rulings, the Supreme Court cleared legal roadblocks to addressing climate change and other environmental problems.

In the first case, covered in this AP story by Pete Yost, the Supreme Court, on a 9-0 vote, overturned a lower court ruling that allowed some old power plants to get out of regulations controlling emissions of sulfur and nitrates. What, you ask? This isn't about CO2? No. These are regulations for controlling acid rain. Yes thats right: some power companies are still fighting otherwise successful acid rain regulations. Duke Power is the culprit here. Keep this in mind when viewing calls from power companies to please regulate CO2 emissions. Those need to be examined very closely.

In the second case, a 5-4 vote said that the E.P.A. can indeed regulate CO2 emissions from car tailpipes. The NYTimes article by, and we're not kidding, Linda Greenhouse, spends a lot of time on the legal issue the minority was arguing: that the case didn't have standing.

This is being hailed as a major victory however don't expect an EPA staffed with Bush appointees to move quickly on their new authority. One immediate effect of this ruling, according to an AP story by Samantha Young, is that the EPA will go ahead and consider California's request to set its own tail pipe emission standards.

Actually the 4 in the 5-4 vote were Cheif Justice Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Conservatives are close to getting the court they want.

Update: Sure enough, the EPA is dragging its heals in doing anything about CO2.

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