As previously mentioned here, I’m currently involved in a legal case where my client — the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council — seeks to compel EPA to reconsider and revoke the 2009 action by which the agency claimed to determine that CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” constitute a “danger to human health and welfare.” That agency action could well be the single most absurd and destructive thing that the U.S. government has ever done in its 234 year history. The “Endangerment Finding” is the regulatory foundation that underlies all of the more than one hundred initiatives of the Biden Administration to destroy our energy infrastructure, drive up the cost of gasoline, heat, and electricity, and leave the American people impoverished and freezing in the dark.
It goes without saying that the government, under direction from the Biden White House and environmental zealots within EPA, opposes our efforts with every resource at its disposal. But here’s what does not go without saying: a collection of non-profit organizations who would otherwise be strangers to the litigation has nevertheless sought to “intervene” in the case to support the position of the government. With perhaps one exception, these are organizations whose core missions would seem to be far removed from the question of whether CO2 or other “greenhouse gases” do or do not cause noticeable global warming. So why do they get involved here? They have totally lost track of their supposed missions, and have become just another collection of foot soldiers in the enforcement of the leftist orthodoxy of the moment.
Here is a link to the brief submitted by these “intervenors” on January 18. (The link goes to the federal court system’s PACER website, which requires subscription.). The cover page of the brief identifies the organizations that seek to intervene: American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Appalachian Mountain Club, Clean Air Council, Clean Wisconsin, National Parks Conservation Association, National Resources Council of Maine, and Natural Resources Defense Council.
OK, the Natural Resources Defense Council is open and upfront about so-called “climate change” advocacy being central to its mission. If you choose to support that organization, you know what you are getting into.
But how about the other seven? Let’s consider a few.
The American Lung Association by its name certainly gives the impression that its mission entirely relates to lungs and their health. Go to their website, and that impression is only reinforced. The headline is “Our Vision Is a World Free of Lung Disease.” Prominently featured initiatives relate to tobacco, radon, and Covid-19. What do CO2 and “greenhouse gases” have to do with lung disease or lung health? The answer is nothing. The plea for donations is headed “Help Us Create a World Free of Lung Disease.” Well, it turns out that these people are taking the donor money and devoting it to the current fashionable cause of having the government use its coercive powers to undermine the U.S. energy system.
Similarly, you might think from the name that the mission of the American Public Health Association has something to do with public health. Maybe at one time it did. Go to the website, and it’s a collection of current left-wing talking points. “Abortion is essential healthcare,” “Creating health equity is a guiding priority and core value of APHA,” “Racism hurts the health of our nation.” There is unabashed vaccine advocacy, without any mention that some vaccines might have serious side effects or might not be right for everyone. OK, but at least all of those arguably have at least something to do with “public health.” CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly nothing to do with “public health,” at least as that term would be commonly understood.
The Appalachian Mountain Club? These are the people who maintain the Appalachian Trail and other such pieces of outdoor infrastructure. Their mission statement at the top of the website says that “we advocate for science-based policies that advance clean energy, air and water quality, and land protection.” Could it make any possible difference to use of these trails if average temperatures went up a couple of degrees a hundred years from now? No. But somehow their mission too has crept into spending donor money to hire lawyers to support the government in its coercive efforts to ban your gas stove and drive up your cost of electricity.
As if the mission creep isn’t embarrassing enough to these organizations, they then take it upon themselves to try to help the government by getting our organization thrown out of court on the technicality of “standing.”
The doctrine of “standing” requires that a party seeking relief in federal court must demonstrate that it has or will suffer some sort of concrete injury. It’s a reasonable enough requirement, but actually very flexible, as shown by the fact that standing is universally recognized for anyone claiming to be harmed by damage to the environment, no matter how minimal or general. Will my local river be warmed 2 degrees by release of water that cools a nuclear power plant? That’s clearly sufficient to convey “standing.”
In our case, the clients allege standing based on electricity bills soaring as a result of efforts to achieve reduced carbon emissions from electricity production. There are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars at stake for every individual in the country. That allegation is backed by extensive showings from places like California, Germany and the UK of electricity prices doubling, tripling and more as fossil fuel plants have been closed and wind and solar have been added to the system. All of this is extremely well-known and public. But more importantly, what expertise do the likes of the American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Appalachian Mountain Club, et al., have in this subject? None whatsoever. But that does not keep them from weighing in. From page 7 of Intervenors’ Brief:
Several outcomes regarding generation mix and electricity prices are at least equally plausible. By many measures, renewable energy sources including solar and wind produce the cheapest electricity. . . .
It’s pure ignorance. Bottom line: pretty much any organization today that is not explicitly right wing has become a foot soldier in the enforcement of leftist orthodoxy. I don’t know why this has to be, but that’s where we are.