June 30, 2012

This Week in Green Politics: 6/30/12

Clean Air Act Regulations Upheld

On Tuesday, a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court upheld EPA's finding that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and should therefore be regulated. The Washington Post has the story:

The opponents, including Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II (R), argued that EPA rules setting emissions standards for cars and light trucks, and requiring construction and operating permits for the nation’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, such as coal-fired power plants, were based on a faulty interpretation of the Clean Air Act, and therefore capricious and heavy handed.

But the court rejected the challenge, calling EPA's interpretation "unambiguously correct." In particular, the judges scorned the opponents' complaint that EPA relied on climate science to make a decision about… climate science. In an amusingly sarcastic opinion, the court said, "This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question."

KXL dropped from transportation bill

Republicans in both Houses have been pushing to green-light Keystone XL in the transportation bill. The House version includes the pipeline "poison pill," but the Senate's legislature does not. Nor does the final compromise, at least for now.

According to Politico's Alex Guillen, the anti-environmental coal ash provision was also left out, "but the deal also includes a speed-up of federal environmental reviews and lacks set-asides for…conservation, bike paths, and other needs…"

Texans gear up to stop Keystone XL

Although the northern section of KXL is still on hold, the Obama admin has granted permits for the portion of the pipeline that goes through Texas. TransCanada expects to start construction later this summer, but many Texans disagree. A coalition ranging from ranchers to Rising Tide activists is coming together for a non-violent direct action to stop KXL. (I'm proud to say our own Cindy Spoon is part of the campaign.)

You can learn more at TarSandsBlockade.org.

Last and most ludicrous:

Exxon CEO Says Global Warming is "Manageable"

Which is probably true, if you're the CEO of an oil company. Or if you're a politician in North Carolina, where the legislature is thoughtfully outlawing rising sea levels.

If you're one of over three hundred Coloradans who have lost their homes to unprecedented wildfires… not so much.