Koch Brothers' War Against America Suffers A Setback In The Supreme Court
“It’s a big win for the E.P.A., and not just because it has to do with this rule,” said Jody Freeman, director of the environmental law program at Harvard. “It’s the fact that it’s setting the stage and creating momentum for what’s to come.”Predictably, the 2 dissenters-- with corporate whore Sammy Alito having had the out of character decency to recuse himself-- were Scalia and Thomas, who called the rules "Marxist." One of the Koch brothers' most shameless handmaidens in Congress, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), who has a free reelection pass from his pal Steve Israel, twisted the ruling into a simplistic and misleading statement, as is his wont: "This is just the latest blow to jobs and affordable energy... We cannot allow E.P.A.’s aggressive regulatory expansion to go unchecked. We will continue our oversight of the agency and our efforts to protect American families and workers from E.P.A.’s onslaught of costly rules."
...Two weeks ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld another major E.P.A. Clean Air Act rule that would cut coal-plant pollution from mercury.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a resounding victory for public health and a key component of E.P.A.’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe,” Gina McCarthy, the E.P.A. administrator, said in a statement. She added that “the court’s finding also underscores the importance of basing the agency’s efforts on strong legal foundations and sound science.”
The interstate air pollution regulation, also known as the “good neighbor” rule, has pitted Rust Belt and Appalachian states like Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky against East Coast states like New York and Connecticut.
With the Koch brothers bribing the majority of the Members of Congress, the EPA isn't used to winning these kinds of victories lately. "Today's Supreme Court decision," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, "is a resounding victory for public health and a key component of EPA’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe. It serves to support the ongoing work to see that air quality in downwind states continues to improve. The Court’s finding also underscores the importance of basing the agency’s efforts on strong legal foundations and sound science. This is a big win for the nation’s public health and a proud day for the agency."
The White House statement emphasized that "240 million Americans can breathe easier" because of the decision.
EPA previously estimated that the rule will prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.8 million sick days a year-- achieving up to $280 billion in annual health benefits.Steven Mufson and Tom Hamburger, writing over the weekend for the Washington Post laid out some of the contours of the coming war the Koch brothers are planning against America.
These substantial health benefits will be achieved at modest costs using readily available pollution controls already adopted by many power plants. While leveling the playing field, the rule also gives power companies the flexibility to choose the most cost-effective option for cutting air pollution and protecting downwind communities.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is one of President Obama’s major clean air and public health accomplishments. Other major actions include:
• First-ever national limits on mercury and other toxic pollution from power plantsOverall, the Administration’s clean air safeguards will save tens of thousands of lives, avoid millions of lost work and school days, and make our cities and towns healthier places to live and raise families.
• New car and gasoline standards to cut vehicle pollution
• Long-overdue limits on toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators
• Rules to cut smog-forming pollutants from oil and gas wells
• Tighter air quality standards for particulate pollution (or soot), reflecting new science about dangerous health impacts
Although we’ve made important progress in cutting smog, soot, mercury, and toxic air pollution, our work is not done. More action is needed to cut the harmful carbon pollution that causes climate change, impacting our communities and public health. In June, EPA will issue a proposed Clean Air Act rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants. This step, which will build on the Administration’s previous clean air successes, is a central element of the President’s Climate Action Plan.
In state capitals across the country, legislators are debating proposals to roll back environmental rules, prodded by industry and advocacy groups eager to curtail regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gases.They turn their focus on Kansas, parcatically a Koch fiefdom, where normal people are beginning to fight back against the Koch plutocracy that controls the state. "The strong winds that blow across Kansas," they point out, "have carried new interest groups into the state. Kansas ranks sixth in the country in wind output, which jumped by a third last year and equaled 19 percent of the state’s electricity, the EIA says... Eventually, the Kansas Senate passed two bills, one postponing the renewable targets and one repealing them. Both failed in the state House, although the bill’s backers have vowed to bring them back."
The measures, which have been introduced in about 18 states, lie at the heart of an effort to expand to the state level the battle over fossil fuel and renewable energy. The new rules would trim or abolish climate mandates-- including those that require utilities to use solar and wind energy, as well as proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules that would reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
But the campaign-- despite its backing from powerful groups such as Americans for Prosperity-- has run into a surprising roadblock: the growing political clout of renewable-energy interests, even in rock-ribbed Republican states such as Kansas.
The stage has been set for what one lobbyist called “trench warfare” as moneyed interests on both sides wrestle over some of the strongest regulations for promoting renewable energy. And the issues are likely to surface this fall in the midterm elections, as well, with California billionaire Tom Steyer pouring money into various gubernatorial and state and federal legislative races to back candidates who support tough rules curbing pollution.
The multi-pronged conservative effort to roll back regulations, begun more than a year ago, is supported by a loose, well-funded confederation that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and conservative activist groups such as Americans for Prosperity, a politically active nonprofit organization founded in part by brothers David and Charles Koch. These groups argue that existing government rules violate free-market principles and will ultimately drive up costs for consumers.
The proposed measures are similar from state to state. In some cases, the legislative language matches or closely resembles model bills and resolutions offered by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a free-market-oriented group of state lawmakers underwritten in part by Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Duke Energy and Peabody Energy.
“Now more than ever is the time for states to lead the way,” ALEC’s top officials told its members at a meeting in December.