Just off the wire from the AP:
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether the Bush administration must regulate carbon dioxide to combat global warming, setting up what could be one of the court's most important decisions on the environment.More later.
A dozen states, a number of cities and various environmental groups asked the court to take up the case after a divided lower court ruled against them.
They argue that the Environmental Protection Agency is obligated to limit carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles under the federal Clean Air Act because as the primary "greenhouse" gas causing a warming of the earth, carbon dioxide is a pollutant.
The administration maintains that carbon dioxide -- unlike other chemicals that must be controlled to assure healthy air -- is not a pollutant under the federal clean air law, and that even if it were the EPA has discretion over whether to regulate it.
A federal appeals court sided with the administration in a sharply divided ruling.
UPDATE: From SCOTUS Blog:
In the EPA case, that agency concluded that it did not have the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" from new cars and trucks and, even if it had that authority, it would not exercise it for policy reasons. The D.C. Circuit Court upheld that ruling, but the Justices agreed on Monday to hear an appeal by Massachusetts, 11 other states, three cities, and a variety of environmental groups. Both issues -- EPA's authority, and its discretion not to regulate in this field, are before the Court in the case. The cases do not directly raise a "standing" issue, although that was debated vigorously in the Circuit Court and by EPA in replying to the appeal. Presumably, the Justices will have to determine on their own if any of the challengers did have a right to sue.UPDATE: Coincidentally, today E&E TV is featuring an interview with David Conover, Republican Counsel to the National Commission on Energy Policy:
Conover, former director of the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) and current counsel to the National Commission on Energy Policy, discusses why he believes a market signal is needed to spur action on climate change, and whether President Bush would ever endorse that strategy. Conover also explains why he feels the administration has the right idea when it comes to international partnerships on global warming.Click here for a transcript.
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