Virginia, Texas go forth with Climate-gate challenge

Opinion Zone,Cheryl K. Chumley

Did the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rely on flawed science when it ruled carbon dioxide was a harmful pollutant, needful of regulation?

That’s one question Virginia and Texas seek to resolve with a lawsuit against the EPA accusing the agency of using known erroneous reports as an excuse to limit greenhouse gas emissions.  Here’s another one: did the EPA use agenda-driven science – from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – rather than independent science, as required by law, to arrive at its ruling?

The dispute over climate change and the regulation of certain types of emissions has waged for years, but the issue ratcheted in 2009 when the EPA determined that certain greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health – a finding known as the 'Endangerment Rule."  That opened the doors to a range of new mandates, from dictating how many miles per gallon vehicles must travel to imposing new costly upgrades on businesses.  Several states questioned that ruling, especially since Congress itself had not legislated limits on carbon dioxide emissions.  After all, while the EPA can impose regulations under existing laws – under the Clean Air Act, for instance – it does not have complete authority to create new mandates, especially without following the rulemaking process.

Compounding the federal-state conflict were a series of controversies that came to light about the so-called science that EPA used to justify its ruling.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), for instance, characterized EPA’s science as not only false, but maliciously false.  It was spiked with “cover-ups, and the suppression and destruction of scientific evidence,” he told a Austin American-Statesman reporter.  Abbott also said the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change was a purely political body comprised of agenda-driven members, and admonished the EPA for citing this group’s science as factual.

Remember Climate-gate – the emails circulated among scientists who supported the whole climate change theory and wanted like-minded colleagues to shut out debate from the other side?  This wasn’t an imagined discovery, or a political ploy.  These emails actually existed.

So given all that, states asked – quite properly – for the EPA to reconsider its ruling.  The EPA said no.  And Virginia and Texas said "okay, we’re going ahead with our lawsuit." 

On May 20, the two states filed an opening brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, “contend[ing] that the EPA illegally delegated the work of researching the endangerment finding to the United Nations and other countries, using research from the UN IPCC report and other sources, instead of conducting independent research, as required by law,” according to an emailed statement from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s spokesman, Brian Gottstein.

The date for oral arguments is not yet set, but it’s a case that’s worthy of watching.  If the EPA can get away with citing IPCC agenda as science and then using that global body’s agenda to impose environmental regulations on America, our whole nation’s ability to produce – especially under this current Green-friendly administration -- will suffer.  With an unemployment rate that hovers around nine percent, a deficit that’s maxed out and an American populace that’s being stressed by steady cost increases in groceries and gas, our economy just can’t withstand another hit.

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