Most of those keeping track are aware that on December 7, 2009, EPA announced its endangerment finding (that greenhouse gas emissions threaten public health and welfare) and followed that up with a final rule a week later. As expected, a number of entities immediately brought action to challenge that finding.
The first case was filed in the D.C. Circuit and is entitled Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. EPA. Since that filing, a total of sixteen other petitions have been filed and have been consolidated with the Coalition case. These include an action by the American Iron and Steel Institute, Gerdau Amsteel Corp., American Farm Bureau Federation, National Mining Association, Peabody Energy Company, Massey Energy Company, Rosebud Mining Company, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc. on behalf of fifteen House Republicans and business associations. Additionally, the states of Alabama, Virginia, Texas, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah are joining with the objectors.
On the other side, sixteen states are seeking to intervene in support of EPA. Those states are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
Setting aside the business interests that are supporting the action (which motivation is fairly easy to identify), it is interesting to analyze the political interests involved. The attorneys general of each state would make the decision of whether the state should participate in the lawsuit. Of the seventeen states that are seeking to overturn the EPA determination, all but three have Republican attorneys general (and those three have Republican legislatures). With regard to the sixteen states that are supporting EPA, fourteen of them have Democratic attorneys general (the remaining two have Democratic legislatures).
In a totally unrelated note, I notice that the National Journal conducted a poll of political bloggers recently. Those bloggers that reported to be right-leaning were asked if it is was in the Republicans’ interest to work with the Democrats on Wall Street reform? 71% of the bloggers said no. The same question was put to the left-leaning bloggers about Democrats and 67% said no. This is not an isolated finding or sentiment.
Based on these observations, and the recent fight over health care reform (with a second battle coming according to Congressman Steve King), it isn't hard to conclude that bipartisanship, as a political concept, is dead in the United States. It has been for a number of years and it will be for the foreseeable future. What’s more, while lip service is given to the need for some sort of give and take between the parties, it doesn't appear that either the politicians or the electorate really expect, or even want, bipartisanship. The import of this, for those that are interested in legislative sausage-making, is that the future holds many more battles like we saw with health care reform, and I suspect that this will be particularly evident when it comes time to address environmental and energy issues.