Coalition of 17 states, plus N.Y.C., asks that Cuccinelli's latest EPA argument be rejected
Has Virginia's lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency become the Civil War of civil litigation?
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli crowed in March when 12 states joined his suit against the EPA's attempts to regulate greenhouse gases as an endangerment to human health because they cause global warming. Since then, a couple other states have also joined Virginia, with at least 14 now facing down the EPA.
But the battle lines are being drawn on this one. Seventeen states and the New York City have now joined the EPA in facing down Virginia. In fact, it's that coalition, led by Massachusetts, as well as New York City that that filed a motion with the court today asking that Cuccinelli's latest motion in the case--dealing with the EPA's new fuel standards for cars--be rejected.
Earlier this month, Cuccinelli cited the fuel standards, which were also formulated on the grounds that emissions cause global warming, as a sign the EPA has already rejected his administrative request that it review its finding that greenhouse cases hurt human health. Based on those new rules for car emissions, he asked that a judge remand the case to the EPA and require the agency to review the case.
The EPA has meanwhile been asking that the court delay any rulings in the case until it completes its administrative review of the finding in July. The 18 pro-EPA states argue in a filing today the court should allow that process to go forward.
In today's brief, Massachusetts Attorney General Marsha Coakley writes that the EPA indicated when it issued the fuel standards that they were not, in fact, a sign that it has closed its reconsideration of the new greenhouse gas finding.
"EPA's express statements prove these contentions to be false. As Movants are aware (see e.g., Linder Motion at 7), in the Motor Vehicle Rule, EPA expressly rejected the suggestion that that final rule amounted to a denial of the pending requests for reconsideration. EPA stated that it 'has not taken final action on these administrative requests, and issuance of this vehicle rule is not final agency action, explicitly or implicitly, on those requests,'" she writes.
Further, she argues that states like Virginia have not yet legally established that they have been harmed by the EPA's greenhouse gas finding and therefore have standing to sue.
"At this stage, Movants have not established that they are feeling effects of
the Endangerment Finding, themselves, in a concrete way, so as to satisfy their burden of proving the jurisdictional requirements of standing and ripeness. Movants' attempt to go straight to the ultimate remedy, bypassing such inquiries, must fail: jurisdiction must be demonstrated. " she writes.
We'll continue to monitor this nationally important suit for all developments.
April 29, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman
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