Is EPA Treading On Thin Ice With Its Climate Change Regulations?

On a day when ClimateWire reported that thousands of walruses are stuck on land because their usual summer home – sea ice – has disappeared, I’m beginning to wonder whether EPA’s stationary source GHG rules are similarly at risk. It may not be difficult for EPA to brush off a fairly over the top letter from Texas which basically asked EPA “What part of ‘hell no” don’t you understand?”

However, today Greenwire reports that Governor Freudenthal of Wyoming – a Democrat – is asking EPA to defer enforcement of GHG stationary source regulation. So is Ben Grumbles, head of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Grumbles may be a Republican, but he was head of the water office under the Bush EPA, so he has to have some idea of the legal pressure for EPA to regulate GHGs following Massachusetts v. EPA.

In addition to these latest requests from the states, ClimateWire had a separate story today which noted that Senate efforts to bar EPA from regulating GHG may still be alive and that Democrat Senators Nelson and Dorgan may support attaching the legislation to the EPA appropriations bill. Readers of this blog know that I am a fan of Senator Graham’s willingness to consider climate legislation, but EPA has to be worried if it is counting on Senator Graham’s prediction that the amendment will fail.

I have long said that EPA’s regulations are here to stay, because they are not only defensible, they are – in some form, at least – pretty much mandated by Massachusetts v. EPA. However, where the prevailing metaphor for the November elections is that of a GOP tsunami, one has to wonder whether there is a realistic possibility that, one way or another, EPA regulation of GHG under existing authority could be subject to significant delay.

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