Thursday, June 15, 2006

Supreme Court To Address Utility Pollution & Climate Change

The climate change case involves forcing EPA to regulate carbon dioxide when they do not want to promulgate such regulations on cars and trucks. It is a backdoor Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard because there is no device, like the catalytic converter for other gases, that you can use to scrub carbon dioxide. When you burn anything you get carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Humans emit it as part of the respiration process. And CAFE is regulated by the Department of Transportation, not EPA (which sets mpg ratings). In short, the only way to reduce carbon doxide is to make the cars run more efficiently. Congress refuses to raise CAFE beyond the current 27.5 mpg standard.

Even if the court takes the case and rules that EPA will have to regulate greenhouse gases, it would not include power plants, homes and factories. Of course, mainstream environmental groups will take an ineffective backdoor partial vehicle standard over nothing at all. However, a real solution will come from legislation such as McCain/Lieberman, aggressive support for new nuclear power plants and plug-in fuel cell-pwered hybrid electric vehicles. President Bush has taken care of the nuclear side of that equation. We will have to wait and see if Wall Street will support his program. We will probably need a Rupert Murdoch or a Bill Gates type to revolutionize our vehicle products. Regardless, if China and India do not play ball, there will not be a ball game. (Wash Post Editorial)

The utility case involves a lawsuit by Environmental Defense, DC, Maryland and 13 states against Duke Energy on the antiquated and ineffective New Source Review (NSR) program. NSR will not reduce air pollution because utilties will not conform to this 'command & control' burden. It is an excellent vehicle for endless litigation though. (Wash Post article)

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