Litigate them, of course! Keep in mind that the EPA does not yet have its regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions in place. The rules haven’t been written yet. All that’s happened is that the EPA has decided that it has the legal authority to write these rules under the Clean Air Act. This decision alone, called an endangerment finding, already set off an intense legal scramble as various entities, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, and politicians opposed to regulating greenhouse gas emissions attacked the finding from various angles. So we haven’t even gotten to the rules themselves yet; we’re still fighting over the question of whether EPA is allowed to make them.
Going forward, EPA will follow a lengthy and Byzantine process of drafting its proposed rules and submitting them to public hearing and comment. This is the same process that any federal agency goes through in order to make rules, but it’s likely to be more protracted and contentious in the case of greenhouse gas rules because the issue is so high-profile. It may take years for the process to play out, and once the rules are officially made, their validity and legality will certainly be challenged in courts all across America. Once it makes rules a federal agency is legally obligated to defend them in court–after all, if they didn’t think the rules were defensible, they wouldn’t make them in the first place! This process is expected and normal, and over the coming years we’ll probably see numerous court decisions from various federal and state courts about the rules themselves, whether the EPA made them properly, and possibly even whether it’s Constitutional for Congress to pass laws that can theoretically regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Some of these cases will be more important than others, but each time a new decision comes out, there will be a flurry of coverage of it that will keep the issue in the news for a long time to come.
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