A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a legal challenge by Texas and Wyoming to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 vote, said the states and various industry groups did not have standing to sue because they could not show that they had suffered an injury or that a ruling throwing out the EPA plan would benefit them.
The decision comes after the same court upheld the EPA’s first wave of greenhouse gas regulations in 2012, and is another win for the EPA, which has a strong track record in the courts in challenges to its rules, particularly those targeting greenhouse gas emissions.
“The states and industry groups trying to block EPA from curbing carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act are on a long losing streak,” said David Doniger, climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Friday’s decision concerned a challenge to the EPA’s efforts to make states include carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases when they issue permits to industrial facilities setting limits on various types of pollution they emit.
Frank O’Donnell, president of the not-for-profit group Clean Air Watch, said Friday’s ruling strengthens the hand of the EPA as it starts to implement President Barack Obama’s climate action plan. Obama in June directed the agency to write rules to curb carbon emissions from the country’s fleet of existing power plants.
But O’Donnell said Texas and other states opposed to federal environmental regulations are likely to drag their heels when forced to comply with EPA timelines.
“I predict they will be late filing their plans, due in 2016 under the scenario the president set forth, and will dare the federal government to intervene,” O’Donnell said.
You can see the ruling here, via the Environmental Defense Fund. There have been so many of these lawsuits that I have a hard time keeping track of which one is which, so I’ll just turn this over to the Sierra Club for the last word.
“The U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts have now ruled in favor of controlling climate disrupting-pollution nine times,” said Cyrus Reed, conservation director with the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Attorney General Greg Abbott and Commissioner Bryan Shaw preferred to spend their time and resources on lawsuits doomed to fail, regardless of the consequences for Texas’s economy, rather than cooperating with the Environmental Protection Agency and upholding the law. Carbon pollution protections are the law, even in Texas. After three years of damaging droughts, it is time for the large polluters and state agencies alike to join the environmental community in working to reduce emissions.”
“While Texas officials were wasting taxpayer dollars with fights against the federal government, Texas legislators were quietly updating state laws in early 2013 to require TCEQ to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act,” continued Reed. “Abbott and Shaw have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on these frivolous lawsuits rather than letting regulators do their jobs.”
Be sure to tell Latino voters about this one, Greg.