Under the 2007 Massachusetts vs. EPA ruling, the Supreme Court said that the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. This week, Big Oil and dirty energy special interest groups will be challenging that ruling in an attempt to derail the EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon pollution and other global warming gasses.
Despite the possibility that a ruling against EPA could dissolve Obama’s clean-vehicle initiatives and cripple future carbon pollution standards, David Doniger, the policy director for the Climate and Clean Air Act Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, doesn’t seem overly worried.
“The challengers have come gunning for EPA, but they are just shooting with blanks,” said Doniger.
The strategy of the plaintiffs will likely focus on attacking the science on climate change and challenging the EPA “tailoring rule” that makes compliance easier, particularly for small businesses. While attempting to disprove climate change seems laughable at this point, the “tailoring rule” currently applies the EPA permitting program to only the largest polluters, emitting more than 100,000 tons of carbon pollution per year. By striking down that rule, plaintiffs hope to demand permits from small businesses, buildings that use heating oil, churches, and other small-time polluters, causing chaos and overwhelming the system.