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For media inquiries only, contact:  Brian J. Gottstein
Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
Phone: 804-786-5874

 

Virginia, other states get day in court with EPA over greenhouse gas regulation

- Virginia charges EPA violated agency's own rules by using outside research, also violated law by not reopening hearings after conflicting data surfaced -

WASHINGTON, DC (February 28, 2012) - This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard Virginia's and several other states' complaints against the EPA regarding its determination that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants dangerous to human health and welfare. The pollution determination allows the EPA to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases.

In February 2010, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli,II petitioned the EPA to convene a new proceeding to reconsider its "Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Finding for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act" (endangerment finding), published by the EPA in August 2009.

Cuccinelli stated that the EPA violated the law by relying almost exclusively on data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rather than doing its own research or at least testing the external IPCC data according to federal standards. In addition, information contained in the Climategate emails released in December 2009 and in news reports since also indicated that the IPCC data may have been manipulated to arrive at predetermined conclusions. The attorney general argued this was new and relevant information that was revealed after the EPA made its determination, and therefore, the Clean Air Act required that the EPA reopen its proceedings to take into account this new information.

In March 2010, 12 states joined Virginia, Texas, and Alabama in their appeal of the endangerment finding. They were Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

In September 2011, an EPA internal investigation by the EPA's inspector general showed the agency failed to follow federal rules for testing - according to EPA's own research standards - the outside IPCC data on which it reliedto conclude greenhouse gases were a danger to human health. The inspector general concluded that, because EPA's actions constituted "highly influential scientific assessment," the EPA had failed to meet relevant procedural standards.

"The EPA's version of cap-and-trade will regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, from factories, to office buildings, to cars, to power plants," said Cuccinelli. "It is projected to cost households thousands of dollars a year because of increased energy taxes, and everything we buy that takes energy to manufacture or transport will increase in price. The regulations resulting from this new EPA authority will most certainly chase jobs out of the country, as the compliance costs to industry may be prohibitive, making our loss China's gain. And what is worse is that the people who will suffer the most as a result of these regulations are the poor.

"The EPA is exercising a political agenda-not a protecting-the-planet agenda. The EPA issued this finding without regard for economic impact and, critically for me, in violation of the law, by improperly delegating its research authority to the United Nations rather than doing its own and refusing to consider the newly discovered information.

"From the beginning, all we have asked EPA to do is to reopen its hearings to accept the conflicting data, as well as follow the law and verify the data it already used, so we all can have an honest look at the information used to make such an economy-altering decision for this country. We are in court because to-date, the EPA has refused to do even that."

More background on Virginia's portion of the EPA suit: http://www.ag.virginia.gov/Media%20and%20News%20Releases/EPA_Lawsuit.html