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Judicial Consensus


Massachusetts vs. EPA: Greenhouse gases are air pollutants, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency may regulate their emission.


American Electric Power Company vs. Connecticut: Until and unless the EPA acts inappropriately or errs the EPA is responsible—not the courts—for overseeing and enforcing any regulations or changes to the regulations regarding climate change.


Why are these rulings significant?

Through the unanimous AEP vs. CT ruling, the Supreme Court re-affirmed the MA vs. EPA case saying that greenhouse gases are air pollutants emitted due to human activity, and rejected the argument that climate change is a political question that the courts cannot address. Those justices who previously dissented with the MA vs. EPA case have joined and concurred with the majority ruling for EPA greenhouse gas regulation. The Supreme Court has established that climate change is scientific fact.


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Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_v._Environmental_Protection_Agency American Electric Power Company v. Connecticut. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Electric_Power_Company_v._Connecticut Fisher, Daniel. “Supreme Courts Global Warming Decision Keeps the Cause Alive.” June 27, 2011.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2011/06/27/supreme-courts-global-warming-decision-keeps-the-cause-alive/ Osofsky, Hari. “The Yale Law Journal: AEP v. Connecticut’s Implications for the Future of Climate Change Litigation.” September 13, 2011. http://yalelawjournal.org/the-yale-law-journal-pocket-part/supreme-court/aep-v.-connecticut’s-implications-for-the-future-of-climate-change-litigation/  

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