I’m sure that there are a lot of “eleventy dimensional chess” folks out there, but when you look at Obama’s record, both in terms of his support for coal and for his full throated endorsement of the fiction that is “clean coal,” the fact that the administration filed an brief urging the Supreme Court overrule the appellate court decision does not surprise me one bit:
The Obama administration has urged the Supreme Court to toss out an appeals court decision that would allow lawsuits against major emitters for their contributions to global warming, stunning environmentalists who see the case as a powerful prod on climate change.
In the case, AEP v. Connecticut, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a coalition of states, environmental groups and New York City. The decision, handed down last year, said they could proceed with a lawsuit that seeks to force several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
In a brief (pdf) filed yesterday on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority, acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal agreed with the defendants, saying that U.S. EPA’s newly finalized regulations on greenhouse gases have displaced that type of common-law claim.
Matt Pawa, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he and his colleagues expected the White House to stay out of the matter. During a meeting with more than 30 administration lawyers at the solicitor general’s office on June 24, it seemed they had “a lot of friends in the room,” he said.
“We feel stabbed in the back,” Pawa said. “This was really a dastardly move by an administration that said it was a friend of the environment. With friends like this, who needs enemies?”
I would also note that the regulations that the Solicitor General is touting, which he says should preempt this suit, only applies to new power plants, and these new plants are not the subject of the nuisance suit.
I suppose that a lot of folks will blame Rahm, who has a history of sucking up to miscreant industries for campaign cash, but remember, Obama knows who and what Rahm is, and hired him. Remember, the Cossacks work for the Czar.
As gay activist Joe Sudbay noted at Americablog:
Welcome to our world.
Now, what these environmentalists don’t understand — yet — is that Team Obama isn’t really on their side. Not in the way they think, anyway. It’s a tough lesson and hard to swallow. The gays learned it early on, between Rick Warren and the DOMA brief.
(Mr. Pawa and Mr. Bookbinder should be prepared. They’ll see a lot of their colleagues in the environmental movement make excuses and apologize for what the Obama administration did.)
If the Obama were serious about carbon emission regulation, then it should see this suit would be a wonderful lever to get Congress to move on comprehensive legislation.
The only two justifications for this brief are that they aren’t serious, or, once again, they are trying to expand the reach of the executive branch.