Business Groups Plot Legal Challenge to EPA Regs

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The Senate could vote on Thursday on an amendment from Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. But should Murkowski’s effort fail, industry groups have a Plan B: they’re hoping to tie up emissions rules in a tangle of costly lawsuits.

I reported last week that the Chamber of Commerce will probably challenge the agency’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health. (That finding triggered the agency’s responsibility under the Clean Air Act to regulate such pollutants). And last Friday, executives and lobbyists from more than two dozen trade groups huddled in the law offices of Sidley Austin LLP to discuss their legal strategy, according to The Hill.

The groups that attended the meeting represent many of the nation’s biggest polluters. They included the Chamber, the American Chemistry Council, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Public Power Association, and the Edison Electric Institute.

The meeting was convened by the firm’s general counsel Roger R. Martella Jr., the same former Bush EPA staffer-turned-lobbyist who helped draft Murkowski’s attempt last fall to block EPA rules on carbon emissions. He now lobbies on climate on behalf of clients like the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the Alliance of Food Associations.

It’s not surprising that industry groups are assembling a war room to fight EPA curbs on carbon dioxide. But what is interesting is that the group was apparently divided on the best course of action. The Hill observes that “two camps have emerged.” One wants to challenge whatever rules the EPA issues, while another wants to question the science of global warming itself.  One thing’s for sure: With cap-and-trade legislation looking less likely by the minute, the fight over the EPA is about to heat up fast.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest