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  1. Oak
    1,815 Posts.
    New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer joined his counterparts in 11 states, three cities, and American Samoa in suing the Environmental Protection Agency, alleging it has failed to regulate greenhouse gas pollutants.

    The legal challenge is an effort to compel the administration of President George W. Bush to take the effects of global warning into account when shaping emissions laws.

    In August the EPA declared that it had no legal authority to regulate such emissions. This reversed earlier positions taken by the agency.

    "We're asking the courts to make the EPA regulate these emissions," said Marc Violette, a spokesman for Spitzer. Massachusetts is the lead on this lawsuit.

    "The vacuum of leadership on global warming by the Bush administration is a betrayal of the best interests of the American people," Spitzer said in a written statement. "This failure to act is harming public health and the environment and will continue to do so for generations to come. With no leadership from Washington, our only recourse is to turn to the courts for relief."

    On August 28, the EPA issued two rulings declaring that the agency does not have statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. These rulings contradict testimony and statements made by the EPA to Congress in 1998, 1999 and 2000. At that time the agency maintained that it does have the legal power to regulate such pollutants.

    Environmental groups that submitted the original global warming petition in 1999, including the International Center for Technology Assessment and Greenpeace, are also challenging the EPA.

    Attorneys general from 11 states first raised concerns about global warming in a July 2002 letter to the Bush Administration. They cited a 2002 federal report, that confirmed the dangers of global warming and urged President Bush to act immediately and take a "strong national approach" to the problem.

    The report, U.S. Climate Action Report 2002, says that emissions of greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide produced from the combustion of fossil fuels -- will increase by 43 percent by 2020.

    The 11 states that signed on to the petitions are Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. American Samoa and the District of Columbia also signed on to the states' petitions. California is filing separately.

    New York City and Baltimore, are also formally challenging the EPA.

    The legal challenges were filed in United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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