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Federal court clears the way for greenhouse gas rules to be enforced in Texas

Apparently, Texas is subject to the same laws as those other states. Who knew?

A federal appeals court on Friday rejected pleas from Texas, some other states and industry allies to block nationwide rules on greenhouse gas emissions slated to start next month.

The states, industry groups and free-market groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its first attempt to regulate carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from automobiles and large industrial sources. The rules, they argue, would harm the economy.

But the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the request to freeze the new regulations while the lawsuit is pending, ruling that the challengers failed to show that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative.

The decision of the three-judge panel clears the way for the rules to take effect Jan. 2, as planned. The federal rules require new controls on emissions from vehicles and industrial sources, such as power plants and refineries.

Bear in mind, the DC circuit appeals court has a reputation for being very conservative. It’s the venue that Texas Republicans plan to use instead of the Justice Department to preclear its redistricting plans, with the hope of getting a more lenient interpretation (or an outright overturning) of the Voting Rights Act.

In challenging the EPA, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has argued that the underpinnings of the new rules — that the gases blamed for global warming threaten public health — are based on faulty data. The new rules also will hurt business, he told the court.

But the Texas lawsuit had a “see- through problem,” said David Doniger, director of climate policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which supports the new rules.

“You can say anything you want in a press release or a two-page lobbying letter to Congress,” Doniger said. “But when you go to court, you have to prove your case, and they didn’t. These cases were brought to dress up a political argument.”

Imagine that. Facts are stubborn things.

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2 Comments

  1. Robert Nagle says:

    Two points. First, Abbott’s lawsuit (which i’ve read) is one of the shoddiest I’ve seen. It just repeated a lot of empty Republican talking points. Second, this week the EPA announced a 6-12 month delay in enforcing some pollution standards, a cause for concern. http://www.grist.org/article/2010-12-08-is-epa-running-scared-from-the-incoming-republican-congress

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