June 4, 2008
Massachusetts v. EPA — 1 Year Later
Cosponsored by the DC Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and International Law Section’s Investment & Finance Committee
A year has passed since the Supreme Court rendered its landmark decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, holding that EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) under the Clean Air Act. The decision coincided with unprecedented urgency from the public and members of Congress to address climate change as a serious matter.
As a result of the Court’s ruling and the increased attention on global-warming issues, the EPA, states, and Congress have responded in a number of ways - from (1) California seeking and EPA denying a waiver to allow the state to regulate GHG based in part because of Congress’s passage of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act to (2) the Agency’s recent announcement in letters to Congress of its intention to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the regulation of carbon dioxide from motor vehicles to (3) the recent mandamus filing by states and other parties in the D.C. Circuit seeking an endangerment finding for vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide. And while EPA ponders its options, states across the country continue to develop detailed plans for reducing GHG emissions.
Given these and other actions, it remains to be seen whether the Clean Air Act will be the primary mechanism for regulating GHG or whether Congress will act first to create a new and more comprehensive program, spurred on in part by litigation and regulatory initiatives advanced by the states. These issues are particularly important for practitioners, as any direction taken will have enormous and far-reaching legal consequences for their clients.
Our distinguished panelists examined and discussed these and other concerns, the legacy of Massachusetts v. EPA one year later, and what is at stake for business and the environment.
Robert Sussman, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (Moderator)
Jonathan Martel, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
Lisa Heinzerling, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
David Bookbinder, Senior Attorney, Sierra Club
Roger Martella, former General Counsel, EPA