Eighteen states, a handful of U.S. cities and just about every major environmental group have something to tell the EPA: Stop dragging your feet on global warming.
Of course, politics being what it is, the statement came in the form of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. It's not the first, nor is it likely to be the last.
The states want the EPA to follow through on a mandate handed down by the Supreme Court in response to the last round of lawsuits. That decision stated that the EPA has the responsibility to regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles as pollutants as defined by the Clean Air Act. In other words, the EPA has always had the authority to do something substantive about global warming, even if Congress never puts the words "global warming" or "carbon" into a law.
That decision came one year ago and was a milestone in a legal drama that started in 2004 with California trying to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles. The latest lawsuit is meant to encourage the Bush Administration to take action, now that its authority has been clarified by the Supreme Court. The EPA has said it will solicit public comments, sometime later this spring, before it even proposes a new rule.
Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, it seems increasingly unlikely that any new rule will be enacted by Bush. That work will be left to the next president.
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