Judges Deny Rehearing of Greenhouse Gas Lawsuit

Washington, D.C., December 2, 2005—The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has turned away an appeal from state authorities and environmental groups which sought to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The Court previously ruled that the EPA was not required to regulate CO2.     

“The voting majority of the D.C. Circuit deserves thanks for reaffirming the Court’s initial decision and keeping the judicial branch out of what is essentially a legislative question,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Counsel Hans Bader. “Besides the fact that the plain language of the Clean Air Act grants no powers to the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide, any court-ordered solution to the controversy over greenhouse gas emissions would constitute a violation of the separation of powers. Clearly, Congress is the proper forum for such policy debates.”

The suit, if successful, would have required the judges of the D.C. Circuit to craft an elaborate set of legislative responses, including determination of proper levels of greenhouse gas emissions, necessary reduction levels for each company and appropriate impacts on U.S. national security and international treaty negotiations, among others.

“The litigation over regulating CO2 has always been about bypassing the political branches,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr. “By refusing to legislate from the bench, the Court has turned back the attempt by a handful of state attorneys general to replace the will of the duly-elected members of Congress with their own.”