Monday, March 2, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Justices rap EPA, but uphold global warming rules

By
June 24, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court largely left intact Monday the Obama administration’s only existing program to limit power plant and factory emissions of the gases blamed for global warming. But a divided court also rebuked environmental regulators for taking too much authority into their own hands without congressional approval.

The justices said in a 5-4 vote along ideological lines that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot apply a permitting provision of the Clean Air Act to new and expanded power plants, refineries and factories solely because they emit greenhouse gases.

The decision underscores the limits of using the Clean Air Act to deal with greenhouse gases and the administration’s inability to get climate change legislation through Congress.

“The Supreme Court put EPA on a leash but not in a noose,” said Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law.

“It reaffirmed that EPA can regulate greenhouse gases, but it can only go so far in reinterpreting the statute,” Gerrard said. “The court invalidated a small corner of a secondary program. The main event — EPA’s proposed rules on existing power plants — remains to be fought another day.”

The EPA and many environmental advocates said the ruling would not affect the agency’s proposals for first-time national standards for new and existing power plants. The most recent proposal aims at a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants by 2030, but won’t take effect for at least another two years.

The justices warned that the regulation of greenhouse gases is not automatic under every program of the Clean Air Act as the administration had assumed it was. Similar logic is driving the EPA’s other actions on global-warming pollution.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for his conservative colleagues, said EPA could not “just rewrite the statute” to bring greenhouse gases under a provision dealing with expanded and new facilities that would increase the overall amount of air pollution. Under the program, companies must evaluate ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to get a permit to build. Carbon dioxide is the chief gas linked to global warming.

But by a wider, 7-2 margin, the court preserved EPA’s authority over facilities that already emit pollutants that the agency regulates, other than greenhouse gases.

“EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case,” Scalia said. He said the agency wanted to regulate 86 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted from plants nationwide, and it will it be able to regulate 83 percent of the emissions under the ruling. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would go farther and bar all regulation of greenhouse gases under the permitting program.

The EPA called the decision “a win for our efforts to reduce carbon pollution because it allows EPA, states and other permitting authorities to continue to require carbon pollution limits in permits for the largest pollution sources.”

The agency said that, as of late March, 166 permits have been issued by state and federal regulators since 2011.

Permits have been issued to power plants, but also to plants that produce chemicals, cement, iron and steel, fertilizer, ceramics and ethanol. Oil refineries and municipal landfills also have obtained greenhouse gas permits since 2011, EPA said.

Under Monday’s ruling, the EPA can continue to require permits for greenhouse gas emissions for those facilities that already have to obtain permits because they emit other pollutants that the government has long regulated.

The program at issue is the first piece of the EPA’s attempt to reduce carbon output from large sources of pollution.

The utility industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 13 states led by Texas had asked the court to rule that the EPA overstepped its authority by trying to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the permitting program. The administration failed to get climate change legislation through Congress.

In 2012, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the EPA was “unambiguously correct” in using existing federal law to address global warming.

The agency’s authority came from the high court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the Clean Air Act gives EPA power to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles.

Two years later, with Obama in office, the EPA concluded that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endangered human health and welfare. The administration used that finding to extend its regulatory reach beyond automobiles and develop national standards for large stationary sources. Of those, electric plants are the largest source of emissions.

When the Supreme Court considered the appeals in October, the justices declined requests to consider overruling the court’s 2007 decision, review the EPA’s conclusion about the health effects of greenhouse gas emissions or question limits on vehicle emissions.

Scalia said the principal objection to the EPA’s interpretation of the clean air law was that it claimed authority “to regulate millions of small sources — including retail stores, offices, apartment buildings, shopping centers, schools, and churches — and to decide, on an ongoing basis and without regard for the thresholds prescribed by Congress, how many of those sources to regulate. We are not willing to stand on the dock and wave goodbye as EPA embarks on this multiyear voyage of discovery.”

Industry groups praised the court for reining in the EPA’s authority. “It is a stark reminder that the EPA’s power is not unlimited,” said Harry Ng, vice president and general counsel of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and natural gas industry’s trade association.

But David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the ruling was a green light for the administration’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. “There’s no adverse effect on EPA’s power plant proposal. In fact, it looks like the court is reaffirming EPA’s authority to set those standards,” Doniger said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Whiteside ready to take Travis school board seat

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
World War II spy shares tales of work behind enemy lines

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

I love to ‘read’ audiobooks

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Council to hear budget scenarios

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield High School celebrates black history

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Photos: Warm winter afternoon at Lagoon Valley Park

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Free medical series targets senior health issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Pena Adobe hosts natural dye-making presentation

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
PublicStuff, an online app, set for Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Beginning gardening series starts in March

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Literacy celebration returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Photos: Vacaville 4-alarm house fire

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A4, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
IHOP takes part in National Pancake Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

Local governments schedule meetings this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Monday, March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

Corner Store Gallery schedules open house

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Kerry tries to dampen fuss over Israeli PM’s speech

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Hundreds of bills introduced by California lawmakers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Storm brings rain, thunder, hail to Southern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California GOP recognizes gay faction of party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
 
Newspaper: Nurse who survived Ebola says hospital failed her

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Myanmar captures rare white elephant in western jungles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Crowd kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sierra Leone’s vice president in quarantine for Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

30,000 marchers in Moscow mourn slain Putin foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, tricky cable job

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

Your right to work for less

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 57 Comments

 
Right fight in DC, but wrong reason

By Colbert I. King | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
A night with a King

By Delon Jackson | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Why timeouts only prolong the problem

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
Horoscopes: March 3, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscopes: March 2, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
It’s never a good idea to point out how big a pregnant woman is

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

 
Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ tops box office with $19.1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn take charity polar plunge in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

TVGrid March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

Lillard, Aldridge lead Blazers past Kings for 3rd in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 37, leads Warriors from 26 down to beat Celtics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants reliever Strickland insists he’s tranquil on mound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Former Washington basketball star Christian Welp dies at 51

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sharks trade Sheppard to Rangers for draft pick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4,000 attend Jerry Tarkanian tribute in Las Vegas arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for fans for next T-wolves game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Poulter, Casey share lead at rain-delayed Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Blatter concerned by Russian soccer racism before World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broadcasters propose FIFA election debate to Blatter, rivals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Major league baseball’s 1st black Latino star Minoso dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Seller’s market for NHL teams as trade deadline nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Andy Sullivan wins Joburg Open for 2nd title this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
South Korea’s Amy Yang wins Honda LPGA Thailand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hannah hurls Bulldogs to 2-0 win over Campolindo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Oregon women upset No. 19 Stanford 62-55

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Indians open season with 12-4 win over Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Oregon beats Stanford 73-70, clinches bye in Pac-12 tourney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Process gets underway to carve up $60 million Sandusky fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal’s big run lifts Bears past Oregon State 73-56

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez nearing 1st spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Fast and furious: Rousey looks to future after 14-second win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

.

Business

Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
In Apple’s latest update, emojis get diverse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Mimi’s adds breakfast items to menu

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Garfield March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7