Earthjustice Statement on Oral Arguments at Supreme Court on Global Warming Case

High court hears arguments on challenge to EPA decision to not regulate greenhouse gases from motor vehicles


Howard Fox / Jared Saylor, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500 

Earthjustice attorney Howard Fox, a litigator with over 25 years of Clean Air Act experience, appeared on the CNBC afternoon news show “Power Lunch” to discuss the landmark global warming case being argued before the Supreme Court. A wide array of states, municipalities, and environmental and public health groups are arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, and that the agency erred when it issued a 2003 decision asserting the contrary.

Fox and Massachusetts assistant attorney general James Milkey argued an earlier phase of the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2005. Following that court’s adverse ruling, Fox assisted attorney Lisa Heinzerling in preparing the briefs, and also assisted Milkey in preparing for the Supreme Court argument. Earthjustice’s client in the case is Sierra Club, which is also represented by David Bookbinder (202-548-4598).

The following is a statement by Earthjustice attorney Howard Fox:

“Global warming is the biggest environmental issue facing humanity. According to a 2001 National Research Council report cited by EPA itself, “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise.” Impacts of this warming include inundation of coastal lands, increased incidence of severe weather conditions (including storms as well as drought), spread of infectious diseases, and disruption of ecosystems.

“Despite mounting evidence of global warming and its impacts, the EPA under the Bush administration has consistently refused to set any limits on the pollutants responsible, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons from motor vehicles. In particular, EPA in 2003 denied a petition by several public interest groups to limit these greenhouse gases. The agency claimed that the Clean Air Act did not authorize such limits, and even if it did, the agency would refuse to set them.

“Congress gave EPA its marching orders in the Clean Air Act, which requires EPA to protect us against dangers to “climate” and “weather.” By ducking its clear duty to take on the premier environmental issue of our time, EPA disrespects both the law and the people it is supposed to be serving.”

To speak with Fox about this case and our work on clean air issues, please contact Jared Saylor at (202) 667-4500. 

UPDATE: Read the oral argument transcript.

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