* States want EPA to reopen endangerment hearings
* About as many states support EPA's climate finding
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, March 19 At least 15 U.S. states
have sued the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to stop
it from issuing rules controlling greenhouse gas emissions
until it reexamines whether the pollution harms human health.
Florida, Indiana, South Carolina and at least nine other
states filed the petitions in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, states said.
They joined petitions filed last month by Virginia, Texas
The Obama administration has long said it would attack
greenhouse gas emissions with EPA regulation if Congress failed
to pass a climate bill.
The EPA is set to issue regulations later this month that
would require autos and light trucks to increase energy
efficiency. That would trigger rules on large emitters like
power plants requiring them to get permits showing they are
using the best technology available to reduce emissions
The state petitions call for the EPA to reopen hearings on
the so-called "endangerment finding" the agency issued last
year declaring the emissions dangerous to people.
"If EPA doesn't reopen the hearings we will move forward to
try to stop them from regulating greenhouse gases," said Brian
Gottstein, an assistant to Virginia's Attorney General Kenneth
The states have complained that the EPA relied too heavily
from reports by the U.N.'s climate science panel which included
information that exaggerated the melting of Himalayan
The EPA said it was confident it would withstand legal
challenges on the issue. "The question of the science is
settled," spokeswoman Adora Andy said. The science "came from
an array of highly respected, peer-reviewed sources from both
within the United States and across the globe, and took into
consideration hundreds of thousands of comments from members of
the public, which were addressed in the finding," she said.
Allison Wood, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams, said the suits
could push some lawmakers to support the climate bill if they
oppose EPA regulation and the legislation preempts the agency
from taking action.
About the same number of states support the EPA. In
January, 16 states including New York and California asked the
court for permission to support the EPA in industry lawsuits
seeking to stop the agency from regulating the gases from
stationary sources like power plants and factories.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio)