Pivotal Global Warming Victory in High Court
April 2, 2008
Massachusetts v. EPA: One Year Later
A Legacy of Broken Promises and Willful Inaction
On April 2, 2007, in a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Sierra Club, 12 states, 3 cities, and other petitioners by agreeing that carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Additionally, in a separate 5-4 ruling, the Justices wrote that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot refuse to regulate these pollutants for political reasons or in favor of extra-statutory policy preferences.
Yet despite that ruling, both EPA and President Bush have created a legacy of broken promises and willful inaction when it comes to fulfilling that judgment:
Read the Mass. v. EPA Backgrounder.
Read the January 31, 2008 letter sent to the EPA by Sierra Club and a coalition of other groups demanding that they take action.
Read the EPA's response to the Club's January 31 letter.
Read the Mandamus petition that Sierra Club and others filed on April 2, 2008 to compel EPA to comply with the mandate.
States Sue to Force EPA Ruling on Emissions
April 2, 2008, by Ian Talley, Dow Jones
Bush's 'Caution' on CO2 seen as 'foot-dragging' by critics
April 2, 2008, by Brad Knickerbocker, Christian Science Monitor
Ignoring the Supreme Court
April 2, 2008, by Editorial, The Washington Post
April 2, 2007
In a huge victory in the fight against global warming the Supreme Court today issued a ruling in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA decisively rejecting the Bush administration's inaction on global warming. In a 5-4 vote, the High Court sided with the Sierra Club, 12 states, 3 cities, and the other petitioners in the case by agreeing that carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants can be regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Additionally, in a separate 5-4 ruling, the Justices wrote that the EPA cannot refuse to regulate these pollutants for political reasons. The Court gave its overwhelming stamp of approval to states that are taking action to fight global warming. At a time when automakers are suing states for taking this step forward, the Supreme Court stated clearly that states have the right to protect their citizens and the environment. It also provides momentum for efforts in Congress to reduce vehicle emissions.
Read the Sierra Club press release.
Read the Supreme Court decision.
In the news:
Justices push EPA to act on car emissions
April 3, 2007, by David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
Stricter emission limits get a boost
April 2, 2007, by Joan Biskupic, USA Today
Supreme Court Rejects Bush in Global Warming Debate
April 2, 2007, by Jenninfer Parker, ABC News
Supreme Court's EPA decision creates political hot potatoCourt says EPA can rule on gases
April 2, 2007, by Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle
April 2, 2007, by Paul Rogers Staff Writer, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
November 29, 2006
On November 29,2006, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Massachusetts v. EPA, a landmark global warming case. The High Court's decision is likely to have a far-reaching impact on future action to fight global warming at both the state and federal levels. James Milkey, Assistant Attorney General for Massachusetts, argued for the petitioners, which include the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, twelve states, three major cities, and numerous other environmental groups.
Read the full Sierra Club Press Release:
Bush EPA’s Refusal to Follow Law on Trial at Supreme Court
November 29, 2006
November 6, 2006
Petitioners in the Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency have filed their Merits Reply Brief, which can be found below in the case documents section.
August 31, 2006
On August 31st, 2006 the Sierra Club, along with a vast coalition of states, cities, political leaders, other environmental groups, and utilities filed opening briefs with the Supreme Court in the most far-reaching global warming case to be heard by the nation’s highest court. The Court’s decision in the case, Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al., could have a potentially decisive impact on federal, state, and local efforts to tackle global warming. The Sierra Club, the twelve states involved, and the numerous other petitioners have taken this case to the high court to force EPA to comply with the Clean Air Act’s provisions requiring it to regulate any air pollutant that "endanger[s] public health or welfare." The Sierra Club's brief, along with the briefs of numerous supporters, can be found below.
Read more in the Sierra Club Press Release:
Sierra Club Press Release
August 31, 2006
June 3, 2006
Twelve states, several cities, and over a dozen environmental groups, including Sierra Club, have joined together to challenge the EPA's decision to deny their authority to control heat-trapping emissions like carbon dioxide. After receiving a fractured verdict in the D.C Circuit Court this suit has made its way to the Supreme Court. On June 26, 2006 the Court decided to hear the case, setting up a decision with major implications. This case should determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency has both the authority and the duty to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and other major sources, such as power plants. The decision may also determine the legality of California's groundbreaking auto emission standards for greenhouse gases, which have now been adopted by 10 other states.
Combined, cars and power plants are responsible for 60% of US carbon dioxide emissions, making them leading contributors to global warming. The hazards associated with increased greenhouse gases and global warming are far reaching, affecting every American. The Bush administration’s current policy of voluntary emission reductions from major sources of carbon has not been effective at reducing this threat. The Sierra Club is joined by large coalition in challenging the EPA and the Bush administration to take proactive and definitive steps to curb carbon emissions and protect the health and well being of the American people.
Details and Documents:
A first for Supreme Court : Global warming
November 30, 2006 by Marc Sherman (AP) Seattle Post Intelligencer
Global Warming on Trial: Debate between Sierra Club's David Bookbinder and Attorney Russell Jackson
November 20, 2006 The Wall Street Journal Online
Supreme Court tackles global warming
October 27, 2006 by Marc Gunther CNNMoney.com
Newsweek Interview with Sierra Club Attorney David Bookbinder:
A Hot Case : This fall, the Supreme Court will consider perhaps its most important environmental case in recent history.
September 3, 2006 by Debra Rosenberg Newsweek
Supreme Court case challenges Bush stance on global warming California and 11 other states are suing EPA to force curbs on greenhouse gases
August 31, 2006 by Carl T. Hall San Francisco Chronicle
Scientists Voice Support For Curbing CO2
August 31, 2006 by Bette Hileman Chemical and Engineering News
Supreme Court to Hear Bush Environment Case
June 26, 2006 by the Associated Press ABC News
- Amicus Brief of Calpine Corporation
- Amicus Brief of Ocean and Coastal Groups
- State of Delaware Amicus Brief
- Amicus Brief of Aspen Ski Company
- Amicus Brief of North Coast Rivers Alliance et. al.
- Amicus Brief of Entergy Corporation
- Amicus Brief of Alaska Natives
- Amicus Brief of States AZ, IA, MD, MN, WI
- Amicus Brief of U.S. Conference of Mayors et. al.
- Brief for Petitioners- Mass vs. EPA Our special thanks to Lisa Heinzerling of Georgeton University Law School, the lead author of the brief.
- Amicus Brief of Madeline K. Albright
- Amicus Brief of National Council of Churches
- Climate Scientists Amicus Brief
- Amicus Brief of Former EPA Administrators
- Amicus Brief of National Wildlife Federation
- Primer for Case
- Certiorari Questions Presented.pdf
- EPA Opposition to Certiorari
- Reply in Support of Certiorari.pdf
- Petition for Certiorari
- Climate Scientists Cert Amicus Brief
- Alaska Natives Cert Amicus Brief
- US Conference of Majors Cert Amicus Brief
- Rule 28(j) Submission - new and independent basis for Petitioners' standing
Petitioners' Merits Reply Brief
See other "Stop Polluters" cases.