Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Climate Change and the Clean Air Act

I would guess that there are people in these United States who know little or nothing about the Clean Air Act.  It was the subject of a Note (meaning an 80 page article with footnotes!) I wrote when I was in law school  35 years ago.  The original Clean Air Act set standards for particulates and other contaminates in cities and areas where the air was clearly harming humans, crops, and more.  The amendment I wrote about required that the smog could not be spread out into pristine areas, such as National Parks, as a way of keeping the air clean in places where it hadn't been.

A short while ago, just on the cusp of the Summer Solstice, the conservative Supreme Court stated by a narrow margin that climate change can be controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency via the Clean Air Act.  This is really huge. Just five years ago, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia were two of the four justices that dissented on the same issue.  Now they have completely changed their position.

The scientists, by and large, now agree that climate change is a reality, and that we need to take action to moderate the change.  Whether we like it or not, it is now a fact on this lovely planet.  So . . . buy an electric car (I really would love to buy a Tesla!) or a hybrid, turn off the lights when you leave a room, buy CFL bulbs, use the cleanest energy you can manage, and conserve, conserve, conserve!

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