Peabody Energy Corp v EPA

A US mining corporation is taking the US EPA to court.

Peabody filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Feb. 12 that seeks review of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision Dec. 7 that greenhouse gases pose a danger to public health.

Quite right. The Obama Administration is trying to use regulatory powers to bypass the Congress. Stealth policy is fundamentally anti-democratic and should be resisted.

Peabody has put out a 240 page document making its case. From the executive summary.

EPA must reconsider its Endangerment Finding based on new material that was not available during the comment period and which is central to the outcome that EPA reached in promulgating its Endangerment Finding. EPA failed to properly exercise its judgment as required by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and acted in an arbitrary and capricious fashion by relying almost exclusively on flawed reports of the IPCC in attributing climate change to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. As evidenced by material that became available last fall from CRU, as well as additional information that has become available since the Endangerment Finding was issued, the IPCC reports were not the product of a rigorous, transparent and neutral scientific process.
Indeed, contrary to the CAA and the Information Quality Act (“IQA”), EPA largely ceded its obligation to make a “judgment” as to whether GHGs may endanger public health and welfare to the IPCC, an international body that is not subject to U.S. data quality and transparency standards and whose reports were prepared in direct disregard of those standards. As a result, EPA is set to begin regulating GHG emissions based on a scientific process that was conducted without the basic procedural safeguards set forth in U.S. law to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the scientific conclusions underlying the Agency’s Endangerment Finding. As an agency of the United States, however, whose regulatory actions will have far-reaching consequences for U.S. citizens, EPA must abide by U.S. standards and not the standards of international bodies whose actions are governed by different norms.
Accordingly, the EPA should reconsider its Endangerment Finding in light of the recently discovered defects in the IPCC’s procedures and convene full evidentiary hearings to provide an open and fair reconsideration process.

It looks like the basis for the case is that the EPA ruling falls foul of the Information Quality Act also known as the Data Quality Act. This legislation was specifically introduced to deal with ‘junk science’ and progressives hate it. Chris Mooney has a long discussion on the legislation in his The Republican War on Science (I’ve lent my copy out and it is a good read, even if incredibly biased and wrong-headed). Here is Mooney in the Washington Monthly complaining about it.

A ‘junk science’ ruling against the IPCC and the CRU would be devastating. It would also be problematic for what is an important avenue of research. Ideally the EPA, and more importantly the Obama Administration, will back away from the issue and pursue their legislative program in the market of ideas and in the Congress.

(HT: Climategate)

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21 Responses to Peabody Energy Corp v EPA

  1. JC

    Peabody will win the case. Obamanation will be forced to go back to Congress and negotiate his position through the legislative process something that seems lost on the Demolition party these days.

    The interesting thing I see is that perhaps Obamantion saw the writing on the wall which is why he just green-lighted nuke energy.

    This is going to be a very important case that could its way all to the Supreme Court, which after the recent Free speech decision doesn’t look as though the court is in a mood to allow the administration to legislate through White House fiat.

    Good for Peabody taking it to court.

    As an aside. Chris Mooney can’t be trusted on anything he says or writes about as he’s so biased he has two left arms and legs.

  2. daddy dave

    It would also be problematic for what is an important avenue of research.
    I disagree.
    Climate really should go back to its mid-20th century status as a mildly interesting, minor subdiscipline of physics.

  3. daddy dave

    All this stuff is getting wound back just in the nick of time. Copenhagen, ETS, now the Peabody case. It was really touch and go. Climategate defused the AGW bomb with mere seconds to spare.

  4. rog

    Has Peabody ever lost a case? (and who cares)

    It is a silly argument, in the wrong proportions otherwise harmless elements can prove to be toxic

    JC talks about bias ho ho ho

  5. So in essence this is a trial case in US law and AGW is the defendant. Innerestin’.

  6. dover_beach

    It is a silly argument, in the wrong proportions otherwise harmless elements can prove to be toxic

    Thankfully, that is not their argument.

  7. It is a silly argument, in the wrong proportions otherwise harmless elements can prove to be toxic
    .
    No it’s a test case and anyone with a vested interest in stopping AGW policy in its tracks will be really paying attention. It says the EPA is wrong because the IPCC is wrong; because AGW is wrong This case is attempting to discredit, in law, a scientific theory. It’s a bit like Scopes vs. The State of Tennessee. If the litigation covers the AGW theory substantially, assuming the trial isn’t rigged, this will either put AGW beyond political criticism or trash it.
    .
    Obamantion saw the writing on the wall which is why he just green-lighted nuke energy.
    .
    I seem to recall Obama advocated nuclear energy before he was elected.

  8. Sinclair,
    Any reason why you regard those who oppose this as being “…progressives…”? It makes those who disagree with them into “regressives”.

  9. dover_beach

    It says the EPA is wrong because the IPCC is wrong; because AGW is wrong This case is attempting to discredit, in law, a scientific theory. It’s a bit like Scopes vs. The State of Tennessee. If the litigation covers the AGW theory substantially, assuming the trial isn’t rigged, this will either put AGW beyond political criticism or trash it.

    Not at all. The question appears to be, has the:

    EPA failed to properly exercise its judgment as required by the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and acted in an arbitrary and capricious fashion by relying almost exclusively on flawed reports of the IPCC in attributing climate change to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions…Indeed, contrary to the CAA and the Information Quality Act (“IQA”), EPA largely ceded its obligation to make a “judgment” as to whether GHGs may endanger public health and welfare to the IPCC, an international body that is not subject to U.S. data quality and transparency standards and whose reports were prepared in direct disregard of those standards. As a result, EPA is set to begin regulating GHG emissions based on a scientific process that was conducted without the basic procedural safeguards set forth in U.S. law to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the scientific conclusions underlying the Agency’s Endangerment Finding.

    As always, what will be determined by the court is principally a legal finding, not a political or scientific one. The question being did the EPA err in not exercising its judgement since the IPCC may not meet the standards required by the Information Quality Act. It is true, however, that a decision against the EPA will have political and scientific consequences, but they won’t be the same.

  10. JC

    Has Peabody ever lost a case? (and who cares)

    Mergatroid, what i said was the the firm will win the case. How you think i was suggesting your assertion is beyond anyone.

    It is a silly argument, in the wrong proportions otherwise harmless elements can prove to be toxic

    What are toxic are your arguments, oppressively so. They simply make so sense.

    JC talks about bias ho ho ho

    Really? Okay Rog answer this one. You were hysterically critical of Abbott’s reliance on regulation, so why aren’t you supportive of Peabody taking legal action against regulatory measures?

    You really are a dishonest intellectual chump.

  11. The question being did the EPA err in not exercising its judgement since the IPCC may not meet the standards required by the Information Quality Act. It is true, however, that a decision against the EPA will have political and scientific consequences, but they won’t be the same.
    .
    Yeah. But it seems to me that if the EPA has not exercised its judgment as legally required then they have done so because the IPCC is junk science. If the IPCC is not junk science then they have. There could be statutory nuances I’m not aware of. I haven’t read Peabdy’s case (funny that) nor the Data Quality Act.
    .
    It’ll have political consequences. The only consequences for science will be deciding who’s actually practicisng it.

  12. JC

    Actually the court is a good place to interpret the act, Adrien. In fact it’s really the only place.

    I’m am pretty confident that the EPA is fucked on this one.

  13. dover_beach

    But it seems to me that if the EPA has not exercised its judgment as legally required then they have done so because the IPCC is junk science.

    Only those parts that have not meet the standards of the Information Quality Act are ‘junk science’. The problem for the IPCC is that a failure in one or more parts of its assessment reports tarnishes the whole. If that is established then I think the EPA is legally required to exercise its own judgement rather than deferring to the IPCC. An the decision will go Peabody’s way.

  14. rog

    Peabody are arguing that international scientific standards are not American

    That is their argument

  15. rog

    Next Peabody will contest Clean Water Act allowing them to pump raw sewage and mine effluent into rivers

  16. rog

    Peabody are also against regulation of NO2 and SO2 pollution.

  17. rog

    You are a dope JC

    Abbott is for using regulation as opposed to a market mechanism.

  18. Sinclair Davidson

    Andrew – I didn’t want to use the term ‘lefties’ so substituted progressive instead.

  19. JC

    You are a dope JC

    Abbott is for using regulation as opposed to a market mechanism.

    1.Rog, you intellectual lightweight your argument against Abbott is that he’s using regulation and not the “market mechanism” to mitigate against emissions.

    2. You attack Peabody for defending itself against regulatory over-kill, thereby supporting regulation.

    Your position is totally contradictory and all I did was present what a concern troll you are.

    Go away.

  20. rog

    I “attack Peabody for defending itself”?

    Oh puhlease

    Stop with the hystrionics

  21. Pingback: Prosecuting climate fraud « TWAWKI

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