Sotomayor’s History Favors Environmental Statutes

by | Jun 2, 2009

sotomayor2Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, in 2007 ruled that power plants should use the best available technology upgrades to protect the environment, regardless of the cost involved.

At the time, environmental groups sued the Bush-era Environmental Protection Agency to protect fish in waterways impacted by the plants. The EPA had permitted power plants to use cost-benefit analyses when upgrading technology aimed at protecting the environment.

But Sotomayor, in her post at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that according to the statute, the EPA was required to consider the best available technology, and that power plants could not argue for lesser technology based on the billions it would cost to comply.

“The statutory language requires that the … selection … be driven by technology, not cost,” read Sotomayor’s opinion.

Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court reversed her ruling.

But Sotomayor’s introduction to the Supreme Court could sway future decisions in favor of the environment, analysts say.

Reece Rushing, with the Center for American Progress, said environmentalists are “very positive” about Sotomayor, based on her opinion in the 2007 case.  “I think there’s evidence that she’ll continue that on the Supreme Court,” said Rushing, reports FoxNews.

A pending case at the Supreme Court involving global warming would give a clear indication of her impact on the nation’s legal framework, analysts say.

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