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How green is your presidential candidate?

Who they'd appoint as judges may matter most.

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For environmentalists, it is heartening that the major parties' remaining presidential candidates all offer positive records on environmental issues. But their views on judicial appointments may well matter more.

Last April, the US Supreme Court told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get serious about global warming. Weighing a lawsuit brought by a dozen states, the justices demolished the EPA's argument that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases somehow are not "air pollutants" under the Clean Air Act and ordered the agency to decide whether they endanger public health and welfare. Such a finding would then lead to appropriate federal regulation.

One year later, the EPA has yet to act on the Court's ruling. That delay prompted states and environmental groups to sue again last week in an effort to compel the agency to fulfill its duty. California, meanwhile, is taking the agency to court over administrator Stephen Johnson's December decision to deny the Golden State the authority to limit greenhouse gases from motor vehicles, contrary to the advice of the EPA's own expert staff. It appears the Bush administration prefers inertia to either federal or state action.

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