Eben Burnham-Snyder, NRDC, 202/513-6254 or 703/357-5428
Co-Petitioner NRDC Says Authority to Regulate Pollution is Clear
Washington, DC (June 26, 2006) -- The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear a case on whether global warming pollution from America's vehicles can be regulated under the Clean Air Act by the EPA. The case will review the Bush administration's decision in 2003 that EPA has no authority to limit the emissions that cause global warming under that law.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is a party in the case, which was brought by the State of Massachusetts and joined by 13 other states and cities and more than a dozen environmental organizations.
"The Clean Air Act is clear that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant and that EPA has the duty to prevent damage to the climate" said David Doniger, senior attorney for NRDC's Climate Center. "We believe the Supreme Court will reject the Bush administration's clear evasion of the law."
The case comes from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which last July delivered an unusually splintered decision with three separate, inconsistent opinions from the three-judge panel. Judge David Tatel wrote that the Clean Air Act does cover global warming pollution, but two other judges ruled for EPA on other grounds. Judge Raymond Randolph deferred to EPA's "policy reasons" for not regulating greenhouse gases, while Judge David Sentelle opined that no one has "standing" to challenge the government's decisions on global warming.
The science on global warming is clear, and a study last week added to the consensus position that it is happening now, and heat-trapping emissions mainly from burning fossil fuels is the main cause. Last Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences told Congress in a report that the Earth is the hottest it's been in at least 400 years, citing human activities as the main cause.
The case is expected to be argued before the Supreme Court this fall.