U.S. Chamber of Commerce again challenges legality of EPA greenhouse gas regulation


On August 13, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a petition for judicial review to challenge the legality of the EPA’s decision not to reconsider its determination that greenhouse gases pose a threat to human health and welfare and are to be regulated under the Clean Air Act.  While claiming that the lawsuit “does not address the science of climate change,” the Chamber has a history of questioning climate science to fight off regulation, including the assertion that warming of even 3 degrees Celsius over the next century would be “beneficial to humans” and a call to put “the science of climate change on trial.”

The Chamber of Commerce and nine other parties, including fossil fuel interests, anti-regulatory NGOs, and the state governments of Texas and Virginia, previously filed petitions for reconsideration of EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” issued in December 2009.  EPA released a statement on July 29, 2010 rejecting all petitions:

“The petitions to reconsider EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” claimed that climate science can’t be trusted, and asserted a conspiracy that calls into question the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, EPA found no evidence to support these claims.”

Regarding the current lawsuit, Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the Chamber’s National Chamber Litigation Center, said in a prepared statement:

“The Chamber’s lawsuit challenges the wisdom of regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which simply was never intended to regulate something as complex as global climate change.  The Chamber’s lawsuit does not address the science of climate change.”

What appears to be an even-handed statement of policy is contradicted by the Chamber’s record of questioning the science of global warming.  A number of the Chamber’s members have resigned over its opposition to action on climate change, and the Chamber has since made the case that it has “never questioned the science behind global warming.”  Brad Johnson of Wonk Room details the Chamber’s history of climate change denialism.

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