States, Enviro Orgs Sue Stonewall Johnson — Again

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The lesson is clear. If you want the Bush administration’s Environmental Protection Agency to do something to help fight global warming, you better sue. And if you really want it to do something, you better sue again.

Today, officials from 18 states and a number of environmental groups, filed a petition to force the EPA to do what the Supreme Court said one year ago. In the landmark ruling — itself the result of a lawsuit against the EPA — the court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and that it had to act. Except it didn’t.

It’s become clear that EPA staff did, in fact, do the work to determine the agency’s response. But EPA chief Stephen Johnson and the White House put a lid on it last December, and since then nothing has happened — except that Johnson has deployed a succession of transparent delaying tactics.

The states and groups want the court to force the EPA to issue its “endangerment” finding within 60 days.

Now, don’t confuse this lawsuit with another lawsuit by several states and environmental groups against the EPA. Earlier this year, California and 17 other states sued to reverse Johnson’s decision to deny California’s petition to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Johnson made that decision against the unanimous recommendation of his staff.

There was another familiar development today. The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming voted to issue a subpoena for EPA documents showing the Agency’s progress in making the “endangerment” finding and proposing national emissions standards. That’s the third subpoena issued this year by Congress for EPA documents.