The Texas Tribune reports:
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is appealing a lawsuit that it has already won — and that was filed by children. Environmental advocates say the appeal shows that the state will go to any lengths to fight the suggestion that it address climate change.
As part of a national environmental movement, a group of youths in 2011 demanded that the commission enact steps to reduce greenhouse gases. The agency refused, and the youths’ parents sued on their behalf.
A year later, Travis County District Judge Gisela Triana ruled in the agency’s favor, saying it could use its own discretion and decide not to institute greenhouse gas regulations. But the commission still appealed, insisting that the court did not have jurisdiction over the case to begin with and that she made an “improper declaratory judgment” — that Texas is responsible for protecting “all natural resources of the State including the air and atmosphere”…
Still, even if Triana’s statement does not mean much in practice, the environmental movement has seen it as symbolic — and the state has seen that as a threat. The agency complained to the court that Triana’s statements were seen by the plaintiffs “as a victory,” even noting that environmental groups had called her ruling a “blockbuster” for the movement to combat climate change in news releases.
Spence said the appeals court could vacate her statements, because her entire opinion is up for review. But the court may also say, “Look, this is dicta. Everybody calm down,” Spence said. (“Dicta” refers to a simple statement that cannot serve as precedent.)
That is what Abrams expects the court to say.