Environmental Protection Agency on trial

The Kraftwerk Westfallen coal-burning power plant is pictured on May 23, 2011 in Hamm, Germany. The U.S. Court of Appeals will soon hear arguments in lawsuits aimed at overturning EPA rules for reducing greenhouse gases.

Adriene Hill: Now to greenhouse gases. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., is hearing arguments today and tomrorow from groups that want to overturn environmental protection rules.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sarah Gardner reports.


Sarah Garnder: The plaintiffs in these cases range from the oil and coal industries to Texas governor Rick Perry. They’re challenging EPA’s groundbreaking rules to limit carbon pollution.

Frank O’Donnell heads Clean Air Watch.

Frank O’Donnell: This case is going to be absolutely crucial to determine if we can have some national effort to deal with the problem of climate change.

At the heart of these suits is the EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide pollution endangers public health and welfare. It’s the basis for new U.S. fuel economy standards among other things.

Columbia law professor Michael Gerrard.

Michael Gerrard: One of the arguments being raised by some of the opponents is that there isn’t enough of a scientific basis for EPA to have issued the endangerment finding.  

Gerrard doubts industry will win that argument. But the court could still find fault with the way EPA is implementing new carbon pollution rules, ultimately making it more difficult for the agency to enforce them.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk covering sustainability news spots and features.

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