February 25, 2014

Editorializing in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s unprecedented greenhouse gas regulations [“Clearing the air,” Feb. 24], The Post stated that the Supreme Court “recently held” that “the EPA’s greenhouse gas program represents a comprehensive climate change policy.” But The Post should read American Electric Power v. Connecticut more closely. The court was talking about an entirely different regulatory program: the “new source performance standards” program. The EPA program now being reviewed by the court — for “prevention of significant deterioration” — was not mentioned by the court’s analysis in American Electric Power , let alone endorsed by the court in American Electric Power .

In fact, the court’s unanimous opinion in American Electric Power criticized the notion that greenhouse gas emissions should be controlled by regulatory permits — precisely the sort of mechanism that the EPA is now trying to impose.

The Post also should give the 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA a closer read. The court did not hold that greenhouse gases are a pollutant for the entire Clean Air Act — it held only that they are a pollutant for one part of the act governing automobiles. The environmentalists themselves argued in that case that auto regulations would not trigger non-auto regulations.

C. Boyden Gray, Washington

The writer worked on the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 while serving as White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush.

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