Obama Sides With the Polluters

This is pretty self-explanatory:

The Obama administration has urged the Supreme Court to toss out an appeals court decision that would allow lawsuits against major emitters for their contributions to global warming, stunning environmentalists who see the case as a powerful prod on climate change.

Read the whole thing.  It’s hard for me to tell whether this is craven or stupid.  Note that the SG didn’t have to take a position on this case.  This represents the administration going above and beyond the call of duty to undermine the chances of a sensible energy policy.  Yes, a comprehensive statute would be better.  And you know what?  It ain’t going to happen.

What about just allowing the EPA regulatory process to go forward?  The 2nd Circuit allows that.  In fact, it helps that process by saying that it cannot rule on the displacement question until EPA climate change regulations are final.  So if the utilities sue over those regulations, and hold them up in court, then they have to face the consequences of the common-law claim.  In other words, the SG’s brief represents an invitation for the polluters to sue EPA.

Will this matter?  It could; for the SG to step in and take a position on the case that it did not need to sends a signal to the Supremes that this is important.

What next?  Bernie Madoff as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency?

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Reader Comments

6 Replies to “Obama Sides With the Polluters”

  1. This is an abonimation! I am so mad right now. I can’t believe Obama did this. Gues he won’t get re-elected if we all stick together.

  2. President Obama has imposed a moratorium on offshore drilling and made permits for onshore oil drilling very difficult to obtain, and this has stopped most new oil drilling projects in America. Likewise, it is virtually impossible to get air permits for any new fossil fuel power plants, including natural gas fired plants. These measures have significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions at the source. Please give Obama credit where credit is due.

  3. Obama may need SOME credit. Still though, any type of energy policy is goinig to get through some kind of loop-hole, whether Obama allows it or not.

    I don’t think he is where all of the problems are. Things like this will happen frequently… For example, in 2005 when Congress passed the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the gas drilling industry was able to somehow be exempt from the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. And in 2008 thousands of people started reporting contaminated water, as a result of the process of hydraulic fracturing that the gas industry used. A lot of these people sued and the issue was not resolved… what makes us think that any kind of lawsuit will get past any kind of energy-related company?

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About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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