CBS Mischaracterizes Supreme Court Ruling on EPA Greenhouse Gas Authority

After Environmental Protection Agency Chief Stephen Johnson's appearance before Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's powerless House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, CBS decided to dole out its own criticism of the EPA.

The March 13 "CBS Evening News" reported the EPA had not lived up to the obligations of an April 2007 Supreme Court ruling.

"Congressional Democrats took the gloves off against the EPA today, accusing the agency's chief, Stephen Johnson, of stalling all regulation on global warming," CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews said. "Johnson knew this reckoning was coming. Despite his own promise to issue new regulations last year, despite a Supreme Court order 11 months ago for the EPA to act on greenhouse gases, and despite the president's own order last May."

Andrews' assessment of the decision is not quite correct. According to an editorial in the March 14 Wall Street Journal, the Supreme Court did not "order" the EPA to act on greenhouses gases. It only granted the authority.

"The Supreme Court did not require the EPA to change its position on CO2, only to justify it within the scope of the Clean Air Act," the Journal said. "In fact, the Court said the agency could defer a judgment because the science is complex and still evolving. But Mr. Johnson's waiver decision welds shut that escape hatch - and he's still getting pounded by Democrats."

The CBS report also included incendiary remarks from one congressman in the hearing who is a proponent of regulating greenhouses gases.

"You're the fireman and the planet's on fire right now and you don't pick up a hose?" Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) said. "You do nothing. Your administration has done nothing about this."