Friday, June 27, 2008

Yesterday I expressed my disbelief that the White House could ignore an EPA report merely by refusing to open the email. Let’s put a little more flesh on the bones of the story. Over a year ago the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA was wrong to refuse to regulate greenhouse gases as had been demanded by a number of States, led by California. (The EPA had said it had no mandate to do this since CO2 is not toxic and therefore was not a pollutant in the normal sense.)

More recently, the Department of the Environment ruled that Polar Bears were an endangered by the loss of habitat due to global warming, which should have required the EPA to act. Apparently the EPA has rather reluctantly agreed that it has a duty to regulate greenhouse gases, and has made some proposals in a report emailed to the White House, but the White House won’t open the email. This strikes me as childish in the extreme, and it is hard to credit that this is happening in the USA and not in a Banana Republic or a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

The same group of States and environmental groups has petitioned the court to force the EPA and the administration to act quickly on the Supreme Court decision of April 2007, but this petition was rejected by a Federal Court of Appeals yesterday. I do not know the next step on this, but presumably it could go to the Supreme Court. It seems to me that we might as well just wait out the remainder of the Bush term and be ready to move ahead in January.

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