One Global Warming Case Wanes, Other Fronts Open
March 1, 2006
In December the DC Circuit denied a Massachusetts petition to rehear arguments in our premiere global warming case. However, the twelve states have appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which is expected to decide in June whether to grant certiorari and hear the case. At issue in the case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate global warming and, if yes, whether it can refuse to set vehicle emission standards for carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants. Sierra Club is a party to the appeal.
August 23, 2005
Although our original global warming case may soon come to an end, Sierra Club is still poised to tackle global warming on a number of litigation fronts. We are continuing our challenge launched in December 2004 to the automobile industry, which is trying to overturn California's progressive "Pavley" regulations that require auto manufacturers to begin reducing greenhouse gas pollution. We are also preparing to participate in a nationwide campaign aimed at ensuring that each of the country’s new energy projects – new fossil-fuel burning power plants, new oilfields, new pipelines, and new electrical transmission facilities – is studied for its impacts on climate change before being built. Every time we build a coal-fired power plant or drill a gallon of oil, we are creating a new source of greenhouse gases. In the vast majority of cases, these impacts are simply ignored in the planning process, a situation we can no longer tolerate. We will use the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) to ensure that the American public knows the true cost of these outmoded technologies, and thus help put America on a path to clean energy. We are also preparing other litigation that will help control CO2 emissions.
July 15, 2005
On July 15, 2005, by a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed our challenge to the Bush Administration’s decision not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. In an unusual decision, two of the court’s most conservative judges put forward entirely different procedural reasons for dismissing our case. Although we failed to get EPA's decision overturned, the good news is that the court did not endorse EPA's position that the agency has no authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which remains an open question. Moreover, Judge Tatel issued a 38-page dissent that reviewed and reiterated the scientific consensus that global warming is real and dangerous and, reaching the issue that the majority did not, concluded that EPA does have authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases.
March 5, 2004
The Sierra Club, along with twelve states, several cities, and over a dozen environmental groups joined forces in late October 2003 to challenge the Bush Administration's continued failure to confront global warming. The plaintiffs are targeting the unprecedented ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency late last summer that summarily disavowed the agency's long-standing authority to regulate global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act. "The Bush Administration tried to say yet again that it's not their job to fight global warming. In fact they have both the legal and moral responsibility to tackle global warming pollution," said David Bookbinder, Senior Attorney for the Sierra Club. Global warming is implicated in an increasing number of endangered species declines from coral reefs to the Arctic. These endangered species are our 'canaries in the coal mine.' Their alarming disappearances should be a warning sign to us all. The case is expected to go hearing in late 2004.
October 1, 2003
What does it take to get the Administration to admit that it doesn’t plan to do a thing about global warming? A lawsuit by the Sierra Club. In 1999, environmental groups filed a petition asking EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. After several years of waiting, Sierra Club filed a lawsuit to compel a response from the Administration. Our tactics prevailed, and in September 2003 the Bush Administration officially admitted that it does not plan to control global warming under the Clean Air Act. Now, senior attorney David Bookbinder is gearing up for a new lawsuit that challenges the Administration’s inaction, a legal fight in which the Club will be joined by a number of states from across the country.
Details and Documents:
See other "Stop Polluters" cases.