Peabody Energy Corp. joined skeptics of proposed climate change regulations by asking a federal appeals court to review the Obama administration's determination that greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to humans.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 7 released its finding on greenhouse gas pollution, paving the way for the federal government to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases under the Clean Air Act.
St. Louis-based Peabody, the world's largest private sector coal company, filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Friday.
The company says there is no basis for greenhouse gas regulations that could harm an already fragile economy — one that relies heavily on coal for electricity.
"This is serious business," said Vic Svec, a Peabody Energy vice president. "The EPA is restructuring the U.S. economy by declaring this public element of CO2 a public danger."
Peabody, which operates mines that produce more than 600,000 tons of coal a day, says EPA relied too heavily on what the company described as flawed work from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sponsored scientists group.
The IPCC shared the Nobel Prize with former Vice President Al Gore for its 2007 report concluding that global warming was unequivocal and "very likely" caused by humans. But the organization's credibility was called into question last fall when stolen e-mails from a British university climate center indicated efforts to stifle opposing views.
More recently, some errors in the 2007 climate report came to light further damaging the IPCC's reputation.
Peabody's criticism is similar to objections raised in recent days by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and other free market groups and climate skeptics. The state of Texas on Tuesday filed a similar lawsuit.
EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy said the agency's finding was based on an exhaustive, transparent process and used the 'soundest available science."
But 'some special interests, and individuals who have made it their cause to deny the evidence before our own eyes, did not like EPA's answer," she said. "These defenders of the status quo are now turning to the courts in an attempt to stall progress."
Steve Seidel, vice president of policy analysis for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said the EPA's finding was based on much more than just the IPCC 2007 report, including 30-plus studies conducted under U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
As such, he doesn't think legal challenges to the EPA will stand.
"It is very unlikely that the overwhelming body of evidence that the EPA put forward is going to be rejected," Seidel said.