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Texas takes on the EPA in lawsuits
HOUSTON -- A federal appeals court in Washington heard final arguments in late February, according to a March 1 Texas News Service report, in a package of lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Texas. The state is joined by some other energy-producing states -- as well as large coal companies and business groups -- who are trying to prevent the agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles and industry.
It’s one of the last remaining legal hurdles to EPA plans to address climate change. Earthjustice attorney Tim Ballo said the plaintiffs had to convince the court that the agency’s efforts are irresponsible, a charge he predicts will be tough to prove.
The suits claim the rules would impose “extraordinary costs, burdens, and other adverse consequences” on states and industries. The District of Columbia panel is expected to issue a decision this summer -- which could either modify, slow down, or even speed up the EPA’s regulations of carbon, methane, and other heat-trapping emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Jen Powis, who heads the Texas Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, thinks state leaders are fighting losing battles in multiple lawsuits against the EPA because, she said, the agency already has been given a green light by the Supreme Court to regulate emissions which could pose either a present or future danger to the public.
Petitioners argued that the EPA is relying on faulty climate-change science, and ignoring humankind’s ability to adapt to rising global temperatures. While justices seemed to indicate that it’s too late to re-litigate the agency’s authority to make such decisions, some court watchers predicted plaintiffs may fare better with objections concerning how and when the EPA plans to apply the new rules, and who they will impact.
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The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
March 14, 2012 12:19pm
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