The Aspen Skiing Co. on Thursday joined a major U.S. Supreme Court case against the Environmental Protection Agency to recognize greenhouse gas emissions as pollutants. The case, in which briefs were due on Thursday, challenges the Bush administration on global warming. The EPA claims it has no authority under the Clean Air Act to take action in curbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. "Congress clearly told EPA it was supposed to regulate pollutants that affect the climate," Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, said during a news conference Thursday. "EPA has persistently refused, since this president came into office, to execute that authority."With Massachusetts and the Sierra Club in the lead, this crucial legal battle challenges the EPA on grounds that the Clean Air Act requires action against climate change in a case that has made its way through EPA channels and federal courts since 1999. "We're enormously proud to be part of this group today," said Auden Schendler, Skico's environmental affairs director. "We think this is the most important thing we'll do all year, and that includes going skiing."The Skico filed an amicus brief supporting the petitioners in the case, which include 12 states, numerous cities, the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups. The respondents in the case include the EPA, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Automobile Dealers Association and 10 states."Global warming is not a myth," Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said during the press conference. "The federal government is shirking its responsibility to uphold the law."Reilly recognized the four former EPA administrators who have joined the case against the EPA and also the cities, power utilities and "we even have a ski operator," he said. "We've all had enough. The question is no longer about whether we will regulate greenhouse gas emissions but when we will."The briefs were filed on the day that California became the first state to impose a cap on all greenhouse gas emissions. It was a clear break from the Bush administration, and it put California (one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court case) in the forefront by setting a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. This Supreme Court case would force the EPA to make some of the decisions California just made, regulated from the top down. "This is not just 'a case,'" Schendler said. "This may be the most important environmental case ever to go to the supreme court. This is friggin' monumentally important."Joel Stonington's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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