Many West Virginia political leaders reject the scientific evidence and continue to oppose efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.
In a 2007 ruling in a case called Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act and must be regulated if the agency finds them to be a danger to public health and welfare.
The EPA issued such a finding in 2009, and has used its conclusions to support a rule aimed at reducing vehicle tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases and a proposal to cut carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power plants.
Texas officials argue in their petition that the EPA was wrong when it issued a "tailoring rule" aimed at limiting its greenhouse gas rules for stationary pollution sources to only the largest industrial emitters. The petition says the move violated Clean Air Act thresholds that would have applied the rules to a far larger class of emitters.
The Texas petition argues that Massachusetts v. EPA should be overturned "in light of the absurd permitting burdens that follow from treating carbon dioxide as an air pollutant" and complying with the statute's emissions thresholds.
When it upheld the EPA rules last year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals commented that throwing out the agency's effort to limit the scope of its rules would not really lessen the burden on industry.
"Far from it," the court said. "If anything, vacature of the tailoring rule would significantly exacerbate petitioners' injuries."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.