U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Fall Term on Whether EPA Should Regulate Emissions Contributing to Climate Change
SAN FRANCISCO (August 31, 2006) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced that the City and County of San Francisco has joined the cities of Albuquerque, N.M., Burlington, Vt., and Seattle, Wash. in filing a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today in support of litigation by twelve states, three cities, and numerous environmental organizations challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to regulate greenhouse gas pollutants, the leading cause of global warming. The brief prepared on the cities’ behalf by the Washington, D.C.-based Community Rights Counsel argues that the EPA’s refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the federal Clean Air Act is exceedingly unfair to states and municipalities, which will be the first responders to the disasters caused by global warming. The brief also argues that without federal leadership, efforts by states and municipalities to address global warming will be entirely inadequate to protect critical state and local interests.
Among the key questions expected to be decided in the case is whether the Bush Administration’s EPA was correct in deciding that the agency lacks authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act — even though Section 202 of the act states that the federal government should regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”
“The case before our nation’s highest court involves our planet’s greatest environmental peril — and it is essential that localities that will be among the first to deal with the consequences of global warming have a voice in the court’s deliberations,” said Herrera. “At stake in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall is whether the Environmental Protection Agency still exists to protect the environment. I agree with Judge David S. Tatel’s powerful dissent in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal ruling, when he said, ‘I have grave difficulty seeing how EPA…could possibly fail to conclude that global warming may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.'”
Counsel of record for the amici curiae are Timothy J. Dowling, Douglas T. Kendall, Jennifer Bradley and Marguerite McConihe of the Community Rights Counsel. The case is Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., Supreme Court of the United States, No. 05-1120., certiorari granted June 26, 2006.