EPA to be challenged at SCOTUS over climate change

From Reuters (h/t to reader John)

U.S. justices to hear challenge to Obama on climate change

Tue, Oct 15 11:06 AM EDT

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a blow to the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a challenge to part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first wave of regulations aimed at tackling climate change.

By agreeing to hear a single question of the many presented by nine different petitioners, the court set up its biggest environmental dispute since 2007.

That question is whether the EPA correctly determined that its decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles necessarily required it also to regulate emissions from stationary sources.

The EPA regulations are among President Barack Obama’s most significant measures to address climate change. The U.S. Senate in 2010 scuttled his effort to pass a federal law that would, among other things, have set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

More..

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE99E0GB20131015?irpc=932

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LeeHarvey

The EPA regulations are among President Barack Obama’s most significant measures to address climate change.
No… they’re among his most naked attempts to pander to the Democrat Party base.

elftone

LeeHarvey says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

No… they’re among his most naked attempts to pander to the Democrat Party base.

I’d go one further and quote the politician (whose name I cannot remember) in saying that the reason is the way it will generate the largest revenue stream ever for government.

jorgekafkazar

Nine people stand between America and destruction of the Constitution. Who will not cave in, that’s the question.

Thirsty

SCOTUS should take a mulligan on Massachusetts v. EPA and overturn it.

Lance Wallace

Seems an excessively narrow focus. If CO2 is a “pollutant” that can be regulated in motor vehicles by EPA, as the Court seems to have ruled earlier, then of course that same pollutant can be regulated from stationary sources. EPA regulates both mobile and stationary sources now for emissions of particles, CO, NO2, etc., although the form of the regulations differs (e.g., mg/km driven for mobile sources vs. mg/kg burned from stationary sources). If the basic definition as a regulatable pollutant is allowed to stand, then it will be hard to argue that the pollutant is different somehow when emitted by stationary rather than mobile sources. Still, with the 5 conservatives there, they may be able to come up with a solution that will save the coal plants.

Tim Walker

If I was crazy I would look at how Europe has been wrecking their economies with stupid decisions based on the nefarious AGW scheme and look at how Obama is trying to establish the similar economy wrecking mechanisms and wonder who is pulling the strings of these idiots to wreck the western world’s power. Maybe China has perfected a form of mind control or then again maybe some people are just stupid money and power grabbers.

Mark Bofill

I’m astonished. Glad I didn’t make any wagers against this, because at one point in the fairly recent past I recall I was confident enough to!

jeff 5778

From several paragraphs in one amicus brief:
“Finally Massachusetts gives rise to a highly unorthodox consequence: climate change regulation on demand. One endangerment finding having been made, it is hard to see on the theory of EPA and the court below how EPA could decline to regulate in response to pending petitions for greenhouse gas controls from sea to shining sea. The construction of a nationwide regulatory system of unprecedented proportions ought to be left to Congress, not to an agency’s extra statutory, unguided improvisation. ”
Could not agree more.

Tim Walker

elftone says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:49 am
I’d go one further and quote the politician (whose name I cannot remember) in saying that the reason is the way it will generate the largest revenue stream ever for government.
Probably true. Although its kinda like killing the goose to get all of the gold eggs at once. They probably think if the economy gets worse through the higher energy prices that will give them an excuse to spend more and with more poor the Democrats will be in power for ever.

Jeff L

Thirsty says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:55 am
SCOTUS should take a mulligan on Massachusetts v. EPA and overturn it.
————————————-
Unfortunately, the linked article specifically indicates they will not revisit Massachusetts v. EPA. No mulligans this time.

spetzer86

I’d like to think this had a chance of working. Seems like everywhere you look are people rabidly going down the green pathway and devil take the hindmost. Too many people out there without a clue as to what the climate data says or why we can’t have stored hydro power across the USA.

Crustacean

I’m afraid Lance Wallace has it right. The difficulty here is that the court routinely defers to the “expert agency” and won’t question the phony science, which is how Massachusetts v. EPA got decided in the agency’s favor. Unless five justices can find some way in which the agency exceeded its authority, its war on carbon will be allowed to proceed.

Marcos

If C02 can be regulated as a ‘pollutant’, then the EPA would have would have power over people exhaling.
imo, regulating ‘pollution’ should be limited to particulates and gases which of not part of the planets life cycles

highflight56433

jorgekafkazar says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:55 am
Nine people stand between America and destruction of the Constitution. Who will not cave in, that’s the question.
AMEN! The only cap needed is over D.C.

Ian W

Lance Wallace says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:58 am
Seems an excessively narrow focus. If CO2 is a “pollutant” that can be regulated in motor vehicles by EPA, as the Court seems to have ruled earlier, then of course that same pollutant can be regulated from stationary sources.>/i>
I think this is a misunderstanding of the previous ruling which was the EPA had the
authority to regulate pollutants. SCOTUS stayed away from the argument of whether or not CO2 is a pollutant.
However, it is now apparent why there was so much pressure to have the AR5 SPM written (weasel worded) in the way that it was. There will now be indecent haste to remove the tabulated ‘extremely unlikely’s from the main body of the report.

Political Junkie

Clearly, the EPA has jurisdiction over the Supreme Court justices.
Each of them is a “mobile source” of CO2.

Pamela Gray

Eventually, even judges won’t need reader glasses to see the widening gap between settled science and real observations. But they will need a calculator to tally up the outrageous cost of their recalcitrant decision to turn a blind eye on that gap.
There is precedence of such things eventually being turned around by case law.
A child with autism used to be removed from a mother’s care because the condition was universally thought to be brought on by cold mothering. That piece of “settled science” was eventually overturned. But not until untold thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of children and mothers were irreparably harmed by “settled science”.
Fast forward to today. These onerous CO2 regulations, wholly based on quite obvious to the naked eye faulty science, affect ALL of us! Staggering. Just staggering.

highflight56433

…N2 and O2 will be next…then the dreaded dihydrogen monoxide! If the logic is pursued, then the case should be made that anything exhausting should be taxed and regulated. It’s always ok, as long as it is taxed and regulated. Same stream of logic.

jorgekafkazar says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:55 am
Nine people stand between America and destruction of the Constitution. Who will not cave in, that’s the question.

if only it were so – in reality conservative judges vote on the law as they understand it – but democrats vote on the party line as they follow it. Four of the nine votes are pre-determined and independent of law – so the judgement will be made by only five.

I would have preferred the EPA to be questioned on its findings that CO2 is a pollutant in the first place. They claim they have evidence – let’s see it. It’s amazing that no one can ever find that evidence.

Resourceguy

If things don’t work out well for the executive orders over carbon dioxide mandate, they could move on to the issue of production of paper and books, water vapor, and electrons. The world is theirs for the taking and the natives just don’t know what lies ahead for them.

ShrNfr

The case at hand is about the charter of the EPA when it was first created, and if this charter is violated by regulation of CO2 from stationary sources. Mobile sources such as autos are certainly in the charter. Stationary sources such as power plants are arguably not. “The justices limited their consideration of the new case to one question: whether EPA’s regulation of motor vehicle emissions triggers new permitting requirements for stationary sources as well, such as power plants. Opponents had mounted a broader challenge to all EPA regulations of greenhouse gases.” The cases have been combined off of Texas v. EPA http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2013/041913_texas_v_epa.pdf

highflight56433

Paul Murphy says:
October 15, 2013 at 11:33 am
jorgekafkazar says:
October 15, 2013 at 10:55 am
Nine people stand between America and destruction of the Constitution. Who will not cave in, that’s the question.
if only it were so – in reality conservative judges vote on the law as they understand it – but democrats vote on the party line as they follow it. Four of the nine votes are pre-determined and independent of law – so the judgement will be made by only five.
Is that why we have the obamacare?

Tom J

I believe it may be called a tailoring rule. I’m not certain, offhand, but the EPA is required to regulate any ‘pollutant’ over a certain specified quantity. The Obama administration, in having the EPA regulate CO2 as a pollutant, would be required by law (not to say they’ve respected that concept in the past) to regulate it far below what EPA is actually willing to. The EPA, under Obama, intended to only go after power plants and large scale industrial emitters by reinterpreting the tailoring rule, but by law, they’re required to go after much smaller sources such as schools, hospitals, even bakeries, if they’re willing to call out CO2 as a pollutant. Let’s see if the SCOTUS holds them to the letter of the law. They should because from a legal standpoint there’s technically no way around it. Then you’ll hear howls of protest from all its supporters when they too, face the absurdities of this administration.

Jquip

“… N2 and O2 will be next…then the dreaded dihydrogen monoxide! ” — highflight
That’s silly. Everyone knows N2 is harmless. Now O2 is a far more serious pollutant than CO2. If we don’t do something about human driven gardening, the anthropogenic levels will increase until a simple spark can cause the entire atmosphere to combust at once.
The is settled science based on physics, easily verfied by anyone with access to a gas range. And even infamously responsible for the death of Gus Grissom and the rest of the Apollo 1 astronauts.

Jquip

“Nine people stand between America and destruction of the Constitution. Who will not cave in, that’s the question.” — jorge
Not the one of which is sober or familiar with a dictionary.

Resourceguy

New Prediction: There will come a day when the dependence on carbon tax revenue is so great it will not be feasible to unwind it, much like the marriage tax penalty or the Alternative Minimum Tax today. And it will be unfeasible to touch it even when the planet cools and CO2 and sea levels fall in lagged fashion. It will be for the children and other great program budget causes that it remains in place.

Lady Life Grows

Now, this one is important. I think the issue itself is a little silly, but the fact is that the real implications of the attack on carbon dioxide go far beyond a half a degree Celcius or even six degrees Celcius.
The alarmists have attacked the very basis of Life and that needs to be addressed. Everyone who understands the chemical equation of photosynthesis understands that more carbon dioxide means more food and not just for people. What is not commonly understood, not even on this blog, though I have told you over and over and some of you “get it,” is that animal physiology also evolved under conditions of much higher carbon dioxide than today’s. Our bodies require carbon dioxide in the blood as a buffer to maintain a precise pH or we die. We probably have many other needs for carbon dioxide as well, and we just do not know about them, because this has not been studied.
I have not been able to find as much peer-reviewed science as I would like (hardly any, in fact), but that little shows chicken embryos grow faster if carbon dioxide is allowed to build up around their eggs, and that the rodents with the highest carbon dioxide concentration in their burrows (naked mole rats, 200 times atmosphere) are also the ones that live the longest (19 years versus two or three). The upper limit of carbon dioxide in submarines is 100 times atmosphere. Premature human babies are incubated in 7% carbon dioxide to stimulate their lungs to mature faster. That is 175 times atmosphere. I learned about that from a peer-reviewed article that suggested this may be a bit much and cause eye damage in the infants. The quantities in this paragraph make the hysteria over the atmosphere look utterly ridiculous.
I would love to communicate such things to the Supremes, and give them an inkling that their personal longevity, right along with everyone else’s, may well depend on increased, not reduced, atmospheric carbon dioxide. I have not received my Koch Brothers money any more than anyone else here, so it is a bit of a challenge to put a presentation together, but I am working on it.
How does one communicate with the lawyers working on these cases?

jeff 5778

“Is that why we have the obamacare?”
No.
We have it because the Chief Justice who formerly described his job as one of an umpire (calling balls and strikes) now sees himself as a Chief Justice that must “save” every pitch as a strike.

highflight56433

Jquip says:
October 15, 2013 at 11:44 am
..had O2 been regulated by the EPA and upheld by science court … Gus would have been the first man on the moon…breathing… er ah….standby…adjusting my O2 flow….

Jim G

Perhaps they may take into account the social costs of people freezing in the dark or going hungry in order to pay their power bills. But I doubt it.

Lady Life Grows,
That is a fine comment.

Tom Stone

I have not read the record in his case or the 2007 case, but if the record in this case has evidence showing no correlation between CO2 and warming then the Court may find that the 2007 case was discredited by subsequent empirical evidence, and overrule it.. The Court has done it before, most notably in 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education (Separate but equal is not equal)

jeff 5778

Tom,
they will not hear argument on the 2007 case. Only whether EPA is operating outside the boundaries of that decision.

LKMiller

As others have pointed out, the Court usually leans HEAVILY upon precedent, but on occasion SCOTUS has been known to overturn prior and infamously bad rulings:
*Plessy v. Ferguson
*The Dred Scott case
So, there is a glimmer of hope this time that Roberts will have one of his few, lucid days.
As for me, I’m holding out for the overturn of the two rulings that have led to untold damage to our representative republic:
*Marbury v. Madison
*Wickard v. Filburn

Ken L.

I read the Reuters article and frankly find little to be optimistic about, as far as slowing the EPA’s
march toward higher energy prices and continued economic stagnation. It most likely will take another 10-20 years of steady or cooling temperatures and a big shift in the scientific “consensus”
to bring the subject up again before SCOTUS for another look at the disastrous 2007 Mass. vs. EPA findings, in light of new evidence.

Mike Maguire

Considering the specific nature of what this hearing will address, I can see legalities, not science getting all the weight and the court ruling in favor of current EPA agenda and empowering it to enforce.
Even though there is overwhelming proof of benefits to the biosphere and positive contributions to the vegetative health of our planet, including irrefutable gains in plant growth, crop yields and world food production from CO2…………..this may not matter.
It could end up just providing the EPA with additional ammunition to regulate CO2 aggressively in any realm it chooses without being challenged.
CO2 was framed a long time ago by our justice system and got convicted. This does not appear to be a retrial to determine guilt or innocence. ………..more like a determination of what powers that the corrupt judge(s)/(EPA) that convicted CO2 has.to sentence the fraudulently framed gas.
Right now, the EPA/judges want the death penalty for CO2 and coal fired power plants and has already taken numerous steps to advance that agenda.
My guess is that the Supreme Court will do like they did in 2007, when they had a split vote, 5 to 4 on CO2 and the EPA the first time. Conservative judges one way, liberal judges the other.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_v._Environmental_Protection_Agency
“This case has become notable because of a widespread perception that the truth or falsehood of theories of global warming will be decided by the courts. While this could eventually occur in later proceedings, the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court here were much more narrow, and legal in nature.
One of several reasons that the EPA Administrator declined to regulate carbon dioxide is uncertainty about whether man-made carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming. This has attracted great attention to the case. However, the Supreme Court only decided whether the Administrator’s reason is a valid reason within the CAA. The Supreme Court did not explicitly decide if it is true or untrue that man-made carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, although high-profile comments by Justices during oral argument are likely to affect the public debate.
The Petitioners argued that scientific uncertainty is not a valid basis for the EPA Administrator to decline to regulate. The question before the Supreme Court “was not whether the causation is true or untrue,” but whether it is a valid reason for the Administrator to not regulate a pollutant”

highflight56433

I suspect the political wind is in favor of more disastrous legislation followed by disastrous bureaucratic rules followed by disastrous fees followed by disastrous economic strife. The political wonks will point to, accuse, and detract from the real disaster…politics as usual.

Lil Fella from OZ

It might be just a start of many actions against stupidity! The trouble is often law is being translated by policy rather than truth!

pokerguy

I”’m afraid Lance Wallace has it right. The difficulty here is that the court routinely defers to the “expert agency” and won’t question the phony science, which is how Massachusetts v. EPA got decided in the agency’s favor”
If so clear cut, why did they agree to hear the case? Don’t know much about the workings of the Supreme Court though.

Jquip

Lady Life Grows — ” What is not commonly understood, not even on this blog, though I have told you over and over …”
That is a ridiculously awesome set of trivia I’ve neither seen nor even considered before. Many thanks for putting it here. And be sure to keep telling this blog over and over, there’s new folks every day.

@ jorgekafkazar at 10:55 am,
There are not nine people standing between America and destruction, there is merely one.
Massachusetts v EPA was decided 5-4, with the liberal Justices in favor while the conservatives opposed. Justice Kennedy provided the deciding vote.

Stephen Richards

Don’t get excited folks. These are judges appointed by the pres, for the pres. No chance of a win.

Jquip

pokerguy: “… routinely defers to the “expert agency” and won’t question the phony science, ”
Sure, doing so would put to much strain on the credibility of the institution itself. For example, that it took the people and States together to delegate legislative authority to the US Congress. But that the US Congress has, and has been allowed by the Judiciary, to simply abrogate that authority and hand it out to every random Joe Sixpack. The right sort of well-bred Joe Sixpacks, mind. The Judiciary would hardly suffer it if Congress handed out the legislative power to every guy with a mullet and Camaro.
And the attendant problem that laws are supposed to be Necessary and Proper to carrying out Congress’ permitted powers. But the Judiciary can’t acknowledge that they’ve defined ‘Necessary and Proper’ as ‘because.’ Or, as it stands right now, you couldn’t randomly rip half the pages out of the Federal Register and fail to remove one thing specified in the Constitution.
At this point, the only cover they have left is the same one Congress has been using. Shift the burden and blame to someone else. So when people complain they can take an Alfred E. Neuman stance of “What, me worry? They’re experts.” And when it all goes sideways they can blame the experts for the Judiciary failing to exhibit any competency at their job.

I expect the warmists in power are rubbing their hands with glee at this freebie. SCOTUS will confirm the CO2 is indeed as wicked as claimed and we will have legal as well as scientific authority that we are all going to hell in a handcart. Evidence be damned.

cynical_scientist

That is a very narrow question. This is an obscure legal procedural technical issue and not anything of substance. If the EPA loses it will simply make a separate finding about power plants – easily defensible since CO2 molocules don’t know where they came from and it has already declared CO2 to be harmful when emitted from cars.

Theo Goodwin

Jquip says:
October 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm
This comment is offensive and not characteristic of regulars on this blog.

Txomin

It’s a propaganda stunt to remind people who are the “good” and who are the “evil”.

Box of Rocks

So, then how does one force the technical argument that CO2 does not cause the harm it has been ascribed?

more soylent green!

Let’s clear one thing up. The Supreme Court NEVER ruled CO2 is a pollutant. The court ruled the EPA had the power to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act — if the EPA desired to do so. The court did not order the EPA to regulate CO2.