Contact: Josh Dorner, Sierra Club, 202/675.2384 Eben
Burnham-Snyder, NRDC, 202/513-6254 or 202/277-1045 cell
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club consists of over 25,000 members.
The Chapter spans the entire state of Texas, excepting El Paso, which
is part of the Rio Grande Chapter. neil_ email@example.com
Located in Austin, the Lone Star Chapter's State Conservation Office
serves Sierrans as their grassroots communications center. We also provide
Sierrans with a full time professional activist staff employed to represent
Sierrans as we fight at the state level to protect and conserve Texas'
diverse and valuable natural heritage.
Take Global Warming Legal Action:
EPA Must Regulate States' Carbon Pollution, Enforce Pollution Laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 27, 2006) - Twelve states and
cities and three environmental groups today joined forces
to challenge the administration's continued failure
to confront global warming. In lawsuits filed in the
U.S.Court of Appeals in Washington, the state and environmental
coalition argues the Environmental Protection Agency
has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate the
main global warming pollutant, carbon dioxide, from
Under White House orders, EPA claims it does not have
this authority and that carbon dioxide is not an air
"The administration has insisted 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, one
of the petitioners.
A Short History of Everything (Related to this case.
This new lawsuit follows an inconclusive split decision
reached in a similar case last July on EPA's failure
to regulate global warming pollution from U.S. cars,
trucks and SUVs. There a splintered three-judge panel
of the same court failed to decide the central question
of whether EPA may regulate global warming pollution
under the Clean Air Act.
One judge agreed that the Clean Air Act covers global
warming, but the other two judges avoided this question
and voted to uphold EPA's inaction on other grounds.
In particular, one of those judges cited EPA's back-up "policy"
arguments, including the agency's claim that global
warming science remains too uncertain.
In this case, however, EPA offered no back-up arguments.
This time the court will have to address the central
legal issue that was not decided last time around -
does the Clean Air Act authorize regulation of global
The same question is also being tested in lawsuits
brought by the auto industry against California and
other states that have set standards for global warming
pollution from motor vehicles.
Administration Claims Do Not Hold
Under the current administration, EPA claims heat-trapping
emissions like carbon dioxide don't meet the Clean Air
Act definition of "air pollutant"
and cannot be curbed under that law. The current
EPA position reverses the agency's earlier interpretation
of the Clean Air Act and does not hold up under scrutiny:
. The Clean Air Act says an "air pollutant" is
any "physical, chemical,
biological, [or] radioactive substance or matter
which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient
. The Clean Air Act authorizes EPA to regulate any
pollutant that the agency determines to "cause,
or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably
be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." The
Act specifically defines "welfare" to include
adverse effects on "weather" and "climate."
"It's just plain English and common sense," said
David Doniger, policy director for NRDC's (Natural Resources
Defense Council) Climate Center, another petitioner. "Carbon
dioxide is an air pollutant and curbing the pollution
that causes global warming is EPA's job under the Clean
Power Companies Ask for Carbon Regulation
Earlier this month, several large power companies appeared
before an all-day U.S. Senate workshop on global warming
solutions, and asked for mandatory limits to curb global
warming pollution. Individual companies have been talking
about binding emission cuts for the better part of the
last year, large companies and entire industries --
Wal-Mart, Cinergy, Exelon, GE, to name a few-- have
been taking a hard look at how global warming affects
"Businesses, including large power companies,
see cutting global warming emissions as a simple matter
of sound profit planning," said Jim Marston of
Environmental Defense, a petitioner. "They know
that setting limits on the pollution that causes global
warming will mean a market for new technology, but EPA
and this administration refuses to set that market."
Below are power company quotes from the Senate workshop:
. "We need the economic and regulatory certainty
to invest in a
low-carbon energy future. It is critical that we
start now," said Elizabeth Moler, an executive
vice president at Exelon.
. "Customers and shareholders need greater certainty," said
from Duke Energy Corp. "We cannot delay and cannot
count on a strictly voluntary approach."
. Jeff Sterba, CEO of New Mexico power company PNM,
technology solutions to global warming "may happen
a lot more slowly if it remains solely voluntary."
Global warming emissions have already been linked to
stronger hurricanes, heat waves, droughts and worsened
smog. If left unchecked, global warming will cause rising
sea levels, the melting of the polar icecaps, and a
host of other environmental impacts that are beginning
to seriously affect the lives of virtually every American.
States and cities challenging EPA's decision are New
York, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,
New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin,
the District of Columbia and New York City.
Environmental Defense, NRDC and Sierra Club are the
environmental petitioners in this action. EarthJustice
is assisting in legal representation.