Monday, June 15, 2015

207.1 - Good News: Court tosses suit against pollution-control rule

Good News: Court tosses suit against pollution-control rule

Let's start with a bit of Good News - and it is a bit of good news, as you'll see.

One good thing the O crowd has done - and there are few enough such examples, so let's be sure to use the ones we have - is to issue proposed rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the sort of emissions that contribute to global warming. Because they are the worst in this regard, the primary focus of the rules is coal-fired power plants.

If enacted, the rule could potentially shutter hundreds of such plants because they can't meet the improved standards, freeze construction of future plants, and slow demand for coal production in the United States.

Well, we certainly can't have that, can we? So a collection of the nation’s largest coal companies and 14 coal-producing states sued in federal court to block the new rules.

Unfortunately for them, the rules were still in draft form, with the final rules expected in August. So a 3-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously threw out the suit, saying it was unprecedented for a court to review a rule that had been introduced only in the form of a draft.

Interestingly, among the lawyers arguing on behalf of the coal companies was Laurence Tribe, regarded as a scholar of constitutional law. You'd think he would have known the simple point the court made and known the suit was pointless, but I guess is the paycheck is big enough, you do what the client says.

This is, again, just a bit of good news because the suit will undoubtedly emerge from its tomb when the final rules are issued and likely is to be just the first in a wave of legal challenges to the EPA's climate change rules because the one thing we absolutely can't do about climate change is anything that might impact corporate America.

Still, it at least shows that the courts may - emphasize may - not be patsies for the polluters. And I guess we have to take whatever bit of good news we can find.

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