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Justices Hear Arguments On EPA’s “Tailoring Rule”

Even before the Justices took the bench for what might have, mistakenly, seemed like a blockbuster argument on global warming – there was even a demonstrator in polar bear costume on the plaza – the spotlight shifted to the Court’s decision not to hear two NRA challenges to gun regulation laws.

Today’s case, actually six different lawsuits rolled into one, was not about the Environmental Protection Agency‘s power to regulate greenhouse gases. That was settled seven years ago in Massachusetts v. EPA. The arguments heard by the Justices today focused on the EPA’s “tailoring rule” under which the agency adjusts, or tailors, the threshold at which certain pollutants must be regulated.

Under the Clean Air Act limits were established for stationary sources of pollution such as factories and refineries, but the limits for those traditional pollutants like sulfur and nitrous oxides, 100-250 tons per year, are much too low for greenhouse gases which are emitted in much higher volumes.

It is interesting that the usually pro-regulation side supporting the EPA was today arguing for less regulation, saying that applying the limits, without tailoring, would mean regulating every mom & pop factory and overburden an already overburdened bureaucracy. The EPA’s opponents, on the other hand, hope that overturning the rule and expanding regulation to include small sources will cause a backlash against the agency.

Lyle Denniston’s recap of the arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA is here.

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Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court

SCOTUS goes green

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In one of two cases decided in favor of environmentalists yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA needs to start regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Justice Kennedy read the opinion for Justice Stevens who was absent.

Washington Post story is here.

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

Heated debate

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The Supreme Court yesterday considered for the first time the issue of
global warming and the EPA’s role in regulating greenhouse gases. The case, Massachusetts, et al. v. EPA, brought by twelve states, three cities and several environmental groups seeks to force the EPA to regulate auto emissions.

Massachusetts Asst. Attorney General James R. Milkey is shown delivering his argument to the Justices.

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Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court
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