A coal plant in Missouri. (Photo by LarryHB / Creative Commons)

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the EPA’s “endangerment finding” for greenhouse gases, saying the agency is “unambiguously correct” in interpreting that the Clean Air Act requires the agency to regulate emissions that contribute to climate change.

More from Reuters:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously ruled that the EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide is a public danger and the decision to set limits for emissions from cars and light trucks were “neither arbitrary nor capricious.”

The ruling, which addresses four separate lawsuits, upholds the underpinnings of the Obama administration’s push to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, and is a rebuke to a major push by heavy industries including electric utilities, coal miners and states like Texas to block the EPA’s path.


A report from Greenwire (subscription) notes that the decision “stripped industry of several of its most well-worn arguments against EPA climate rules, including that they could someday apply to small emitters like churches and bakeries.”

Opponents of EPA’s regulatory regime have frequently pointed to the so-called Climategate emails, which they said showed climate scientists falsifying data on climate-related research, to argue that greenhouse gas emissions do not constitute a threat to public health. While Climategate may continue to be a talking point on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, the court’s decision means it will not be a basis for legal challenges to EPA rules in the future.

For Republicans, the ruling is renewing their effort to block EPA climate rules. The Hill:

“While some in Washington may claim today’s court ruling is a win for the Obama administration, it delivers a devastating blow to the U.S. economy and American consumers,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in a statement.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP White House nominee, similarly wants to remove EPA’s power. A Romney win and GOP gains in the Senate in the fall elections about likely breathe new life into efforts by Upton and other Republicans to roll back EPA’s climate rules.

Here’s the full text of the ruling, courtesy of Andrew Revkin:

And here are some reactions from around the web:

[View the story “Reactions to federal court ruling on EPA greenhouse gas rules” on Storify]

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.