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Posted by zeakster on January 20, 2010

Cattlemen fight EPA with ‘Climategate’ EPA says it is confident it will prevail in court By Tim Hearden Capital Press A national beef group is invoking the so-called “Climategate” controversy as it challenges a recent U.S. government ruling on climate change. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has filed a petition to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to overturn the EPA’s recent greenhouse gas “endangerment” ruling. The ruling states that gases believed to cause global warming pose a human health risk and is the first step toward their regulation by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. The NCBA and other producer groups fear the ruling could lead to lawsuits and new restrictions on the nation’s livestock industries. The NCBA plans to argue the government’s finding is based on faulty and incomplete science and that the Clean Air Act is the improper vehicle for regulating greenhouse gases, said Tamara Thies, the organization’s chief environmental counsel. “We are taking a position that we do not believe the science with regard to alleged manmade climate change is there,” Thies said. “The EPA has a responsibility to conduct a rigorous scientific analysis and look at all the science out there instead of just cherry-picking certain studies that agree with its position about manmade climate change.” The cattle group points to Climategate, in which critics allege that e-mails stolen from Great Britain’s University of East Anglia show bias and manipulation of data by scientists on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The fact that the EPA relied on some of the IPCC’s data to make its finding makes the ruling questionable, Thies said. “The EPA has only considered some (evidence) and never really seriously considered that climate change could actually be caused by natural causes,” she said. In a statement to the Capital Press, an EPA spokeswoman said the agency is confident that it will prevail in court, adding that the Supreme Court had ordered the agency to answer the endangerment question. There would be “no basis whatsoever” to deny “a fact that is recognized by overwhelming scientific consensus” that the earth is warming, the statement said. The spokeswoman would not comment on NCBA’s references to Climategate. Under the Clean Air Act, parties have 60 days after a rule has been promulgated to appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Once the appeal period for this ruling ends Feb. 15, the parties will likely decide on a briefing schedule and a hearing date will be set, Thies said. The time between the filing of petitions to a court decision can vary, but generally it takes about 18 months to 2 years, Thies said. The appeal comes as Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have vowed to try to block the EPA’s ruling. Thies argues that Congress, not the EPA, should be the body to enact legislation regarding climate change. “When it’s put in Congress’ hands, the democratic process is at work and Congress can decide, ‘Is it appropriate to regulate greenhouse gases or not?'” she said. “When the EPA decides in a dictatorial fashion that they should be regulated … we’re very concerned about that process.”


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