States Sue The Epa To Gain Greenhouse Gas Regulation

This informative article by Jonathan Adler in the National Review discusses a lawsuit recently filed by the Attorneys General of northeastern states to force the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. This article is a must-read for, as usual, Jonathan is bang-on right:

The lack of any regulatory provisions in the CAA [Clean Air Act] designed to address climate change concerns is no accident. Congress explicitly considered and rejected proposals to regulate carbon dioxide when it revised the CAA in 1990. A committee draft included provisions to regulate automotive emissions of carbon dioxide, but this provision was removed. As finally adopted, the 1990 CAA Amendments only contained provisions to study climate change and encourage various “non-regulatory” measures. Since then, numerous proposals have been introduced to regulate carbon dioxide, and none have been passed. It is simply not plausible that Congress has left such the decision whether to regulate greenhouse gases to the EPA, let alone the courts. …

A decision to regulate greenhouse gases as air pollutants would vastly increase the EPA’s regulatory authority over private economic activity. Carbon dioxide is a ubiquitous byproduct of fossil-fuel energy combustion. Controlling carbon dioxide emissions would require regulating every industrial facility that burns oil, coal, or natural gas, along with all manner of agricultural practices and land-use decisions. It would further require yet another round of federal controls on automobile tailpipe emissions. If the federal government is to assume such awesome regulatory authority, the decision should be made in the halls of Congress, not a federal courthouse.