From an editorial published in the New York Times on Thursday:
A federal court decision on Tuesday upholding the Environmental Protection Agencys landmark rulings to control greenhouse gases was a decisive victory for the Obama administration and a blow to polluters. It vindicated the administrations strategy of controlling emissions through regulation and showed good sense at a time when both the agency and the science of global warming are under relentless congressional attack.
The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia covered dozens of suits from industry groups and 14 states challenging four rules that are key components of the administrations effort to limit greenhouse gases.
The most important of these the bedrock from which the other rules flowed was the agencys endangerment finding in 2009 that greenhouse gas emissions constitute a danger to public health and could thus be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The judges said the agencys reading of its authority had been unambiguously correct and that the agency had based its case on careful research and sound science.
The court also upheld three related regulations, including the first round of clean car and fuel economy standards covering model years 2012-2016, issued by the EPA and the Transportation Department in 2009 and aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gases from cars and light trucks while improving fuel efficiency. It also upheld rules establishing a timetable for controlling emissions from stationary sources like power plants and tailoring those controls so that only the largest emitters are covered.
President Barack Obama had initially hoped that Congress would tackle greenhouses through legislation. When that did not happen, the administration had to use its authority under the clean air laws. With that power firmly ratified, the EPA can now move ahead with the second round of clean-car standards proposed last year and a final rule on power plants. Both will be good news for the planet.