Matt\’s Cuppa

My take on tea, technology, and our environment

Court Rules 5-4 in Massachusetts versus EPA

Posted by telecommatt on April 2, 2007

Supreme Court finds that the EPA can regulate heat-trapping pollution, putting pressure on Congress to act on global warming

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that
greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
Today’s ruling has far-reaching implications for broader efforts
to address the urgent problem of global warming and the timing of
solutions. 

This is a very well put together article on today’s supreme court ruling. While the decision does not force the EPA to take action on global warming, it does mean that the EPA can no longer hide behind a that’s-not-our-job mask when it comes to CO2.

Here is the piece that I find particularly painful.

The federal government also claims that the states and environmental
organizations are not injured by the adverse effects of global warming
pollution and therefore lack “standing” to even bring this case before
the Supreme Court.

Seriously, we are talking about the lives of hundreds of thousands of people impacted by global warming-related illness and death, and you know what? Some of those people are going to be US citizens! I guess I feel a little betrayed knowing that the agency that is supposed to be ensuring that water, land, and air that I pay taxes in doesn’t cause me injury threw up its hands and said, “It’s not my responsibility.”

Despite all that. I don’t think our government is all bad. I had a conversation just this last weekend about how amazing our political system, with its system of checks and balances, really is. Here is a prime example of how supreme power lies in the people, and this is what really makes me feel fortunate. If you take a quick look at the coalition that brought this to the Supreme Court, you’ll see what I mean.

Numerous
“friend-of-the-court” briefs have been filed urging that EPA regulate
global warming pollution. The wide coalition includes leading
climate scientists, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, several former EPA
administrators, among them Carol Browner, William Reilly,
Douglas Costle, Russell Train, the National Council of Churches of
Christ, Entergy and Calpine Corporations, numerous health and
conservation organizations

I almost wish I was a social studies teacher at this point, because there are so many pieces of our political engine that did their job they way that they were supposed to that you could just about write a textbook on this one little case. We have the power to change things. Big things. But once we start, we can’t quit. This case was brought to the courts in 2003. It’s been years in the making. Just like the people did here, we need to keep pushing forward in our effort to green our planet. A little bit each day every day is all we can do, but that’s exactly what it takes- a little bit each day every day.

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