Judicial Activism and CO2

This short item is not particularly earth shattering, but it sometimes takes a judge to force some common sense into the political debate. Especially when well funded special interests will be quite happy to grease the opposing position regardless now tenable. We only need recall the tobacco war that sacrificed millions of citizens behind a tattered veil of junk science. The statistics were there for decades. Just as today the excess use of sucrose is clearly linked to obesity and diabetes.

It is very clear that smoke stacks pollute and dump huge amounts of CO2 and has always been true. That this is a community issue is a given. That it is necessary is also a current given. That politicians see no future in touching this issue is also rather obviously a given. Yet the solution is a nationwide standard that is acceptable for the present and to which all new plants must comply. New plants should also be able to challenge existing substandard plants for market share.

That is what could be done and what the lobbyists will move heaven and earth to avoid. Yet this type of banal ethic is damaging citizens here and elsewhere. The judiciary has a hammer and at least one is beginning to apply it. Let us support him and let us see if any real law can be promoted out of it.

Breaking News: Georgia judge blocks coal plant over CO2 emissions

The AP has the bombshell news. A judge has finally used the Supreme Court decision that carbon dioxide is a pollutant:

The construction of a coal-fired power plant in Georgia was halted Monday when a judge ruled that the plant’s builders must first obtain a permit from state regulators that limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

The ruling, from Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, is here [big PDF]. What did the judge find?

E&E News (subs req’d) explains:

Permit filings for the 1,200-megawatt Longleaf Energy Station coal plant, to be built by LS Power Group and Dynegy in Early County, Ga., did not include provisions detailing the plant’s CO2 emissions. Yet EPD permitted it anyway on grounds that while CO2 may be a pollutant, the gas was not subject to regulation under the act.

‘No question’ CO2 subject to regulation

Moore disagreed, saying the respondents’ position “is untenable.”

“There is no question that CO2 is subject to regulation under the act,” Moore wrote.

The judge also found that Georgia regulators failed to sufficiently consider best available control technology for the plant by allowing developers to forgo consideration of integrated gasification combined cycle technology that would have allowed for CO2 capture.

Kudos to the judge for bringing some climate sanity back into the coal-plant permitting process.

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