Business Group Wants "Scopes Trial" for Global Warming

The Environmental Protection Agency is moving closer toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is questioning the science behind its decisions.

The business group wants the EPA to hold a public hearing -- with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge -- to decide whether the agency is using sound science to declare that humans are primarily causing global warming, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In April, the EPA proposed a ruling to declare greenhouse gases a cause of global warming and a threat to public welfare. After opening up the ruling to public comment for 60 days, the agency is now set to formally declare its ruling, which was based on peer-reviewed scientific analysis.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson proposed the ruling after completing the scientific review ordered by the Supreme Court in 2007, when it ruled that the agency has the authority to regulate emissions from vehicles.

The EPA's ruling said "elevated greenhouse gas concentrations are the primary result of human activities," and it called the U.S. transportation sector is a "significant contributor" to U.S. and global carbon emissions.

Chamber officials described the requested public hearing to the LA Times as "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century."

In the famous 1925 Scopes Trial, Tennessee high school teacher John Scopes was indicted for breaking a state law and teaching evolution. The case was overturned on a technicality.

"It would be evolution versus creationism," William Kovacs, the chamber's senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, told the LA Times. "It would be the science of climate change on trial."

The chamber reportedly plans to take its fight to federal court if the EPA denies the request for a public hearing.