Big Polluters Have Little Reason To Celebrate Based On Monday’s SCOTUS Ruling


As Rmuse reported, once again Republicans are threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue because they want the quality of our air to be secondary to the big profits corporations get from greenhouse gases.

The Congressional Romper Room’s day got worse with a very mixed and ultimately narrow SCOTUS ruling that gave a tiny green light to polluting for profit.  Since Republican children have a meltdown every time they don’t get absolutely everything they want, this ruling will only give them an easy excuse to have another meltdown.

At issue was whether the Clean Air Act allows the EPA permit powers to regulate greenhouse emissions by big polluters like oil refineries, power plants and factories.  Predictably, the Court was split along ideological lines with Justice Kennedy once again siding with the Roberts wing of the Court instead of the American people.  The Roberts wing said the only way greenhouse gas emissions could be considered a part of the permit process is if a facility emits other pollutants as well. Members of the global warming deniers cult will undoubtedly cheer the ruling since this ruling restricts the EPA’s ability to address global warming.

Joined by the other corporatist justices, Justice Scalia wrote with typical flourish:

EPA asserts newfound 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,

That said, the context of this ruling’s effect on efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions matters.  The EPA estimated its regulations would reduce greenhouse emissions by 86%.  Even with this gift to the global warming denier’s cult the EPA projects that it can still reduce greenhouse emissions by 83%.

By a vote of 7-2 (Alito and Thomas dissenting) the Court rejected the corporate interests’ claim that pollution sources cannot be regulated for greenhouse gases under the “prevention of serious deterioration” or PSD program. Under the PSD program, operators must show they are using the best available technology to reduce emissions.  Over 300 facilities have applied for permits.

According to The Hill, EPA spokesperson Liz Purchia was pleased with the ruling.

The Supreme Court’s decision is 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 ruling does not affect the rules President Obama proposed on June 2nd, which call for a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  These regulations fall under a different section of the Clean Air Act.

Image: Wikispaces

8 Replies to “Big Polluters Have Little Reason To Celebrate Based On Monday’s SCOTUS Ruling”

  1. Meanwhile, anti-environmental right wing pundits attempt to spin the SCOTUS decision as a victory:
    “Our cup is 20% full. Yeah!”

  2. Former Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: ‘Climate change is the challenge of our time’
    There is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage.
    For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do.

    We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.

  3. A 7-2 ruling from this court on an environmental issue should tell people something. Especially when Scalia, Thomas and Roberts are on the 7 side. I had to read it twice to be sure.

    As you said Dj it’s a lot easier to solve small problems rather than big disasters. I suspect people will wake up when the grocery store shelves are empty. The worst areas of this country are the biggest food producers.

  4. Scalia’s statement after the ruling should be enough for the ground of impeachment of him. Scalia has gone crazy more than ever. He admitted last year that he is avid listener of Rush Limbaugh….

  5. Possibly the Court may have understood that their ruling will effect their own children and grand children’s health in the future. Possibly but I am not holding my breath.

    Koch justices Scalia and Thomas just pointed a large finger at themselves as to who they work for

  6. Not really about the topic but it is one of the best articles on the 1%, how they have failed us and what can be done about it.

    The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% – ex CIA spy

    The man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods calls for re-invention of intelligence to re-engineer Earth

    “We are at the end of a five-thousand-year-plus historical process during which human society grew in scale while it abandoned the early indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making,” he writes in The Open Source Everything Manifesto. “Power was centralised in the hands of increasingly specialised ‘elites’ and ‘experts’ who not only failed to achieve all they promised but used secrecy and the control of information to deceive the public into allowing them to retain power over community resources that they ultimately looted.”

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