Tarheel Tavern #110 hosted by Scrutiny Hooligans is up and about, it’s the fun and games edition, though yours truly apparently cannot translate his brilliant wit and sense of humor from real life to the blogging world, instead handing in a post about Environmental Racism!
by oliveridley •
The Supreme Court sure has a green tinge today!
The Supreme Court gave a boost today to a federal clean air initiative aimed at forcing utilities to install pollution control equipment on aging coal-fired power plants.
In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled against Duke Energy Corp. in a lawsuit brought by the Clinton administration, part of a massive enforcement effort targeting more than a dozen utilities.
Most companies settled with the government, but several Clinton-era cases involving more than two dozen power plants in the South and the Midwest are still pending. The remaining suits demand fines for past pollution that if levied in full would run into billions of dollars.
The justices ruled that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., overstepped its authority by implicitly invalidating Environmental Protection Agency regulations in a way that favored Duke. The case now returns to the lower courts.
The appeals court’s decision “seems to us too far a stretch,” Justice David Souter wrote.
The enforcement program is aimed at reducing power plant emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide that contribute to smog and acid rain. Sulfur dioxide is the leading cause of acid rain.
The utility industry has long resisted installing costly pollution controls under the program called New Source Review. It waged vigorous campaigns against the program starting in the 1980s and more recently by battling it out with regulators when sued in federal courts.
by oliveridley •
The Supreme Court ordered the federal government on Monday to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming.
In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.
Greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the landmark environmental law, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his majority opinion.
The court’s four conservative justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — dissented.
Kennedy, swung left on this one! I stand by my original asseesment, just regulating cars using the clean air act is inadequate, but the important matter resolved here is that CO2 is a pollutant, and this will, I hope, provide precedent in cases to come.