Some will call this a win for President Obama or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which it is – albeit an expected one. But it’s really a win for all of us who are based in reality and thus realize that poisoning our environment is killing people.
On Tuesday the first judicial challenge to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan rule was tossed out by a federal appeals court, which ruled that the regulations are only proposals and thus can’t be judged yet by the court. The plaintiffs (energy companies and states) filed too soon.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the opinion concurring with the ruling, “Petitioners are champing at the bit to challenge EPA’s anticipated rule restricting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. But EPA has not yet issued a final rule. It has issued only a proposed rule. Petitioners nonetheless ask the Court to jump into the fray now. They want us to do something that they candidly acknowledge we have never done before: review the legality of a proposed rule. But a proposed rule is just a proposal. In justiciable cases, this Court has authority to review the legality of final agency rules. We do not have authority to review proposed agency rules.”
Oh dear. Before conservatives get all outraged about the “activist” courts, Kavanaugh, who was staff secretary under former Republican President George W. Bush and worked for W during the Florida recount of 2000 as well as helping to get former Democratic President Bill Clinton impeached, was appointed by a Republican. Yes, Bush, who is sort of not the guy to mention if one is pretending that the courts are stacked against Republicans.
The June 2014 EPA proposal is part of President Obama’s goal via executive action to reduce carbon pollution by 30% from the power sector by 2030. This is naturally upsetting for climate destroyers because it sets the first ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. The White House charges that power plants are responsible for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions.
The EPA describes the rule as follows:
In this action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing emission guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to address greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. Specifically, the EPA is proposing state-specific rate-based goals for carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, as well as guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to achieve the state-specific goals. This rule, as proposed, would continue progress already underway to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in the United States.
Score one for President Obama’s executive actions on climate change, and a bigger one for the environment and the people’s health. Even the historically biased justices won’t hand conservatives/energy companies a free pre-pass to continue to poison us all.
Obviously, Republicans who largely stand against regulating what is killing us aren’t “pro-life”, and neither is anyone else who argues against reasonable efforts to reduce carbon pollution.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.