Yet Another Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regs

Moments ago, a federal appeals court upheld EPA’s climate pollution emission standards after yet another round of legal challenges from conservatives.

In an unanimous opinion covering four cases, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld EPA’s "endangerment" determination, its clean car standards, and its pollution permit requirements for big new industrial facilities.

Yes, they even went after Clean Car Standards – you know, the ones that require cars to get 35.5 mpg by 2016, which saves everyone money on gas, reduces dependence on oil and is even great for car manufacturers.

This gives EPA the green light to finalize the second round of clean car standards later this summer that will cut new car carbon emissions by half and double fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

A study released today shows 54.5 mpg standards will create about 570,000 jobs by 2030, Gearing Up: Smart Standards Create Good Jobs Building Cleaner Cars.

Last year, The National Automobile Dealers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did the same in California and lost.

This ruling also comes one day after closing the public comment period on the EPA rule to limit emissions from fossil fuel power plants by installing simple pollution prevention technology. A record-shattering 2 million Americans submitted comments in favor of this rule.

"These rulings clear the way for EPA to keep moving forward under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution from motor vehicles, new power plants, and other big industrial sources," says David Doniger, senior attorney for the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"The court upheld the agency’s careful determination, based on a mountain of scientific evidence, that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants threaten our health and our planet," says Doniger.

Who initiated the lawsuits? Dozens of lawsuits have been joined together under the name Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA.

A partial list of the petitioners speaks volumes:

  • Coal companies and trade associations, including the National Mining Association, Peabody Energy, and Arch Coal (new owner of the former Massey Energy)
  • Coal-burning utilities, including Southern Company and American Electric Power operating through their litigation arm, the Utility Air Regulatory Group
  • Oil companies, through the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the Western States Petroleum Association
  • Steel, cement, and other trade groups, including the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Portland Cement Association, and the National Association of Homebuilders
  • Agribusiness interests, such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Right-wing climate science deniers including the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute and FreedomWorks Foundation
  • Tea-party politicians, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli, and a dozen Republican members of Congress such as Michelle Bachmann and Joe Barton

EPA took these actions in the first place in response to the Supreme Court’s landmark 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which says the EPA’s job under the Clean Air Act is to protect us from dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our health and drives our increasingly extreme weather.

The Court unanimously reaffirmed Massachusetts last year in a second case, American Electric Power v. Connecticut, concerning power plants.

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