Here is some much needed good news this month related to global warming. Earlier this month, a U.S. Court of Appeals agreed that new Clean Air Act regulations on climate changing pollution from cars, trucks, power plants and factories can go forward as planned in January of 2011. Many industry groups, including the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, and others representing utilities, refiners, biomass fuel companies, and manufacturers, have filed a lawsuit to block these rules. Their initial effort was to attempt to “stay” (temporarily halt) the rules pending the outcome the full lawsuit.
But we beat them in this first round. While the full lawsuits will continue to play out, this ruling lets EPA do its job under the Clean Air Act to move forward to limit climate changing pollution that threatens our families, economy and environment. The ruling tells polluters who want to stall progress towards getting real climate change pollution reductions that EPA’s authority is real and that EPA is moving forward. NRCM (along with other groups) is represented in this case by Clean Air Task Force senior attorney, Ann Weeks. Many state agencies and other environmental groups have also joined in the defense of these rules.
The quick background: Because EPA found in 2009 that global warming pollutants endanger public health and welfare, EPA set emissions limits and fuel economy standards for new cars and trucks, to into effect on January 2, 2011. EPA also established rules to require permits for climate changing pollution from large power plants and factories – including those that burn biomass as fuel, to take effect at the same time.
The big picture: Despite the best efforts of the oil and gas lobbies, which continue to pour money into fighting progress on clean energy and clean air, the Court’s decision means the implementation of these rules will not be delayed. Opponents continue to exaggerate the cost of cleaner, safer technologies (something that car makers and polluters are very good at), while ignoring the huge benefits to the air we breathe. But their stories of woe just didn’t stand up in court.
-Dylan Voorhees, NRCM Clean Energy Project Director