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June 27, 2011

Supreme Court Rules on Green House Gas Issue

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous verdict in a case which could have a major impact on the regulation of green house gases in the agricultural industry. AFBF’s Michael Pettengill talks to Rick Krause on the Supreme Court’s ruling, and its impact on farmers and ranchers.
Pettengill:The Supreme Court has ruled that in the case of American Electric Power Co v. Connecticut, there is no legal standing for the case to continue in federal court. AFBF’s regulator specialist Rick Krause explains why this case could have a major impact for the agricultural industry, because individual states can’t force new greenhouse gas rules.
Krause:This case arose from a number states seeking to curb green house gases emissions from a number of power companies and utilities. They claimed that green house gas emissions from these power plants causes a nuisances to their residences.
Pettengill:In its ruling the court stated the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from utilities, but states in which the utilities operate do not.
Krause:One of the reasons that the court said that states do not have jurisdiction over green house gas emissions is because the Clean Air Act preempted them from doing so. The Clean Air Act has given authority for regulating green house gases to the Environment Protection Agency, and because they have the authority, courts do not have the authority to regulate.
Pettengill:According to Krause the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling could have a major impact on the regulation of green house gases in the agricultural industry.
Krause:The implication for this case are huge in the sense that curbing these emissions would not be just limited to power plants, but could possibly be applied to any emitter of green house gases which could include farmers, ranchers, large dairy operations, large live stock operations, so from that stand point it could have very far reaching applications.
Pettengill:Michael Pettengill, Washington.
Pettengill:We have two extra actualities with AFBF’s regulatory specialist Rick Krause. In the first extra actuality he talks about the impact fighting nuisance lawsuit could have on Farmer and Ranchers. The cut runs 38 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Krause:The Supreme Court decision does not only apply against power companies which where the original defends in these cases, but potentially could affect anyone who emits green house gases. That would include farms and ranches. Farmers and ranchers could be subject to these types of public nuisance lawsuits, and even if they were ultimately found not to be liable in these cases, it still would require farmers and ranchers to spend a lot of money defending these cases. So it would have serious negative impacts on farmers and ranchers even if they were ultimately to be vindicated by the courts.
Pettengill:In the second extra actuality Krause talks about H.R. 910, which aims to strip the EPA of its regulatory authority over green house gases. The cut runs 15 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Krause:Farm Bureau has supported efforts to prevent EPA from regulating green house gases all together. And one of those is H.B. 910 which is passed the House of Representatives, it is now currently in the senate.
Pettengill:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm eastern time. Thank you for listening.

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