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High Court Turns Deaf Ear To Climate Change Attack

This week the U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed industry by refusing to hear challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that carbon dioxide and other climate change pollutants endanger our health. The court also rejected attacks on carbon pollution limits for cars and trucks – limits that respond to the court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, and are important parts of the agency’s efforts to curb such pollution under the Clean Air Act.

The court’s action also provides a solid footing for future EPA action to set standards for other major sources of climate change pollution like power plants, refineries, and oil and gas operations. A 2011 Supreme Court ruling confirmed EPA's authority to set such standards.

"Power plants are the nation's largest emitters of carbon pollution, and EPA must act promptly to limit those harmful emissions," said Howard Fox of Earthjustice, co-counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund.

The high court did accept review of one industry challenge.

At issue is EPA's determination that permits are required prior to construction of new major power plants and industrial facilities that will emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. The permits will include plant-specific requirements to limit climate change pollution using available technologies.

Industry claims the permit requirement lacks legal basis, but the lower court decisively rejected that argument. Earthjustice will vigorously oppose the industry position before the Supreme Court.

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