(CNSNews.com) - In an effort to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, Massachusetts along with 12 other states and environmental organizations filed suit against the agency, a move which climate change skeptics say is "objecting to the democratic process."

"It is something on which we believe the law is clear, we believe Congress clearly told EPA it was supposed to regulate pollutants which affect the climate," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

"EPA has consistently refused since this president has come into office to exercise that legal authority," Pope said during a conference call. "There really is no longer any doubt that carbon dioxide pollution affects the climate."

The opening briefs in the Massachusetts v. EPA case were filed Thursday. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in December and return a decision in the spring.

"Global warming is not a myth," Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said. "It is one of the most important environmental matters of our time, and we all believe we owe it to our children and our grandchildren to address this very serious problem.

"We believe, and we state in the brief, that the federal government is shirking in its responsibility to apply the law," Reilly continued. "Even though the Clean Air Act very clearly and plainly gives EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the agency is claiming it doesn't have and doesn't even want that authority."

But Myron Ebell, director of Energy Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, disagreed.

"A president who is elected chooses their policy on global warming," Ebell said, "and the Congress also can enact laws on global warming and has overwhelmingly rejected the Sierra Club approach, which is to regulate greenhouse gas emissions."

Ebell noted that there have been several legislativeattempts, particularly by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) to add carbon dioxide to the Clean Air Act, efforts which have continually failed.

"It seems to me what they are trying to do is to use the courts to legislate, because in fact what they are claiming is that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate CO2 emissions, but no one who signed the Clean Air Act or the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 thinks that," Ebell told Cybercast News Service.

"Sierra Club is simply objecting to the democratic process," Ebell said.

"It seems pretty clear that CO2 was explicitly, by Congress, not included in the list of things that could be regulated by the Clean Air Act," Ebell added. "So I would be surprised if the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiff."

On Thursday, California took action of its own to reduce emissions. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation imposing statutory limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the state of California. The new law calls for a 25 percent cut in emissions by 2020.

Make media inquiries or request an interview with Monisha Bansal.

Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-brief.

E-mail a comment or news tip to Monisha Bansal.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.