Expert Comment on SCOTUS Greenhouse Gas Decision

Published April 2, 2007

(Chicago, Illinois – April 2, 2007) The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision today that could give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) clearance to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The following statements can be quoted in part of in full. For more information about The Heartland Institute or for help contacting either of the experts identified below, please call me at 312/377-4000.

Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
[email protected]

“The U.S. Supreme Court today substituted its scientific judgment for that of USEPA scientists.

“Speaking rhetorically on the issue of global warming, the Court overruled the agency’s 2003 decision not to regulate greenhouse gases. The Court’s rhetoric is mere dicta, however, gratuitously included to act, in essence, as a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, warts and all.

“Such activist rhetoric is not unexpected from Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, but it is disappointing that Justice Kennedy joined them–as he did in the Kelo case authorizing municipal landgrabs of private property for private economic development.

“Once past the rhetoric, however, all the Court did was order USEPA to issue a more “reasoned explanation” for its refusal to regulate greenhouse gases.

“By statute, USEPA is required to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles ‘which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.’ USEPA concluded in 2003 that greenhouse gases were not air pollutants for this purpose. But USEPA included other reasons–some of which the Court found irrelevant–in its explanation of why it chose not to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“It is now up to the agency to articulate a principled, statutorily based explanation, as the Court ordered, to justify its refusal to regulate greenhouse gases. This ought not to be excessively difficult. The Heartland Institute, and many other organizations and scientists across the country and around the world who believe passionately in sound science, stand ready to assist USEPA in this task.”

James M. Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environment Policy
[email protected]

“The Supreme Court decision indicates a willingness to engage in an issue properly left to other branches of government.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has studied the issue of global warming and found it unwise and unnecessary to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Congress has many times addressed the topic of global warming and has repeatedly found it unwise to restrict greenhouse gas emissions. President George W. Bush also has repeatedly considered the topic of global warming and has repeatedly found it unwise to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

“When EPA does comply with the Supreme Court’s directive and explain its reluctance to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the Supreme Court should refrain from imposing its lay views regarding global warming on EPA.”