Sunday, March 21, 2010

Coalition of states claims climate change is still up in the air

Well, if U.S. President Barack Obama has learned anything in his first year in office, it's that there's no way to please everybody, no matter what. So, news from Washington today that 12 states had joined lawsuits seeking to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions shouldn't surprise anyone. Lawsuits are one of the major ways that public policy gets done, especially when business interests are involved. Florida, Indiana, South Carolina and nine other states asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to block the EPA from issuing rules to control such emissions, according to the Reuters international news service. Their petitions join three filed earlier this year by Virginia, Texas and Alabama, Reuters said. The suits ask the EPA to reopen hearings on an "endangerment finding" it issued last year that greenhouse emissions are dangerous to people. The April finding, which became final in June, enabled the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse emissions under the Clean Air Act. Regulations expected to be issued shortly would require cars and light trucks to increase their energy efficiency. "If EPA doesn't reopen the hearings we will move forward to try to stop them from regulating greenhouse gases," said Brian Gottstein of the Virginia Attorney General's office, Reuters said. The states complain that the new rules are too heavily based on climate change reports from the United Nations that have been criticized for exaggerating some data. But 16 other states have petitioned to join the case in support of the EPA. The new rules are consistent with an Obama administration pledge to use regulations to curtail emissions if Congress does not pass a climate bill, which has been stalled in the legislature, Reuters said.

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