It’s been more than five years since the U.S. Supreme Court established the Environmental Protection Agency’s duty to control greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In 2009, the agency issued final findings that the greenhouse gases “constitute a danger to public health and welfare.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the regulations under the Clean Air Act, denying a potential amendment proposed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to overturn the agency’s conclusions.
“Today’s ruling is a strong validation of, in the court’s own words, the ‘unambiguously correct’ approach we have taken in responding to the 2007 Supreme Court decision,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “I am pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that EPA followed both the science and the law in taking common-sense, reasonable actions to address the very real threat of climate change by limiting greenhouse gas pollution from the largest sources.”
A three-judge panel unanimously ruled to sustain the agency’s “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases are public health concerns, its “timing” rules on carbon emissions from automobiles, and its “tailoring rule” to keep greenhouse gas permitting thresholds at current levels.
Industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and states including Texas and Virginia had previously filed more than 60 lawsuits against the agency. However, the court ruled that “EPA had before it substantial record evidence that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases ‘very likely’ caused warming of the climate over the last several decades.”
Judges also concluded that industry petitioners neither disagreed with agency evidence nor could invalidate its endangerment finding.