Submitted by New Energy News Blog

In April, 2007, the Supreme Court changed the course of the fight against global climate change by ruling that greenhouse gases (GhGs) must be considered a pollutant, under the terms of the Clean Air Act, and, therefore, require scrutiny by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their role in climate change.The decision came in response to a lawsuit brought by 12 states and 13 environmental groups and argued by the Massachusetts Attorney General.

The EPA has, since that Supreme Court decision, abdictated its judicially assigned responsibility.

The Senate committee on environment and public works, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif), heard explicit testimony from members of the EPA staff describing suppression by the White House of efforts by EPA regulators to submit recommendations for GhG reductions.

In the absence of any federal action against climate change – despite the landmark Supreme Court decision – a lawsuit against the EPA has been the only weapon left to those who believe GhG regulation is urgently needed.

Most observers anticipate federal action on global climate change to come in the first 100 days of the next administration, whichever party prevails in the November election. Should fresh leadership fail to produce such vitally needed action, expect an unending stream of lawsuits like the one brought by New York, 11 states, D.C. and the City of New York against the EPA for failing to take action against oil refinery emissions.

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12 states sue EPA over refinery carbon emissions
Timothy Gardner (w/Jim Marshall), August 25, 2008 (Reuters)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); The states of New York (Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General), California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, the City of New York.

A suit is being brought by Attorney General Cuomo on behalf of New York, 11 states, D.C. and New York City against the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries.

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The suit was filed August 25.

This lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

– The EPA’s argument for not regulating GhGs was that Congress should do so.
– Lawsuits have also been brought by coalitions of states against the EPA on vehicle emissions and power plant emissions.
– According to this suit, 15% of U.S. industrial GhGs come from oil refineries as they burn oil to refine petroleum into high-octane auto and jet fuels.
– The suit would force the EPA to regulate and control oil refinery emissions.

A little conservation might help, too. (click to enlarge)

NY Attorney General Cuomo: “The EPA’s refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming…Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York’s environment, health, and economy.”

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