Energy

Hillary Clinton’s Reason For Opposing Brett Kavanaugh? Global Warming

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Former Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton wants supporters to tell their senators to vote against Judge Brett Kavanaugh becoming the newest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Clinton’s main reason for opposing President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee? Man-made global warming.

“Replacing Kennedy with Kavanaugh would swing the Court to a new, hard-right majority that would rule against curbing greenhouse gases for years—maybe decades—that we can’t afford to waste on inaction,” Clinton wrote in a series of tweets published Friday.

Clinton’s tweet storm comes after Kavanaugh faced four days of confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. During those extensive hearings, Kavanaugh defended his record on environmental cases. (RELATED: EPA Chief Denies Writing NYT Op-Ed, And Calls On The Author To Resign)

“In environmental cases, some cases I’ve ruled against environmentalist interests, and in many cases I’ve ruled for environmentalist interests,” he told senators, pointing to three major cases in the last decade.

Clinton’s criticism mirrors those of Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists who see Kavanaugh as a roadblock to policies aimed at fighting global warming. One prominent Democratic senator even said Kavanaugh “is the next Scott Pruitt,” referring to the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Clinton and others also worry Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court could frustrate a future Democratic administration’s climate policy goals. The failed presidential candidate cited several examples of Kavanaugh ruling against climate regulations.

“In 2016, he argued that the Clean Air Act was a ‘thin statute’ to support the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants,” Clinton tweeted.

Her tweet is in reference to the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) that aimed to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Kavanaugh was skeptical of the sweeping rule, but that view was also likely held by the majority of the Supreme Court at the time.

Supreme Court justices took the unprecedented step of blocking implementation of the rule in early 2016. The stay signaled to the more than two dozen states suing the EPA there were likely problems with the CPP.

Either way, the CPP is in the process of being replaced by the Trump administration with the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which takes a less heavy-handed approach to reducing power plant emissions.

Clinton also pointed out that “Kavanaugh ruled that the EPA’s attempt to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a particularly dangerous greenhouse gas found in refrigeration and air conditioning units, was outside its authority.”

In that 2016 ruling, Kavanaugh wrote that “climate change is not a blank check for the President” in striking down EPA regulations on hydrofluorocarbons.

However, EPA regulated hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas, under a section of the Clean Air Act empowering the agency to regulate ozone-depleting substances. Hydrofluorocarbons are not ozone-depleting, according to EPA’s own admission, thus outside the bounds of the legal path they chose.

“We’re not fighting for the planet in some abstract sense here. We’re fighting for our continued ability to live on it,” Clinton tweeted.

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