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Brianne TalockaAug 6, 2018, 7:25 pm

Kavanaugh’s record on EPA rules worries legislators, environmental groups

Sen. Menendez: 'Our whole goal here at the end of the day is to make sure we stop this nomination'

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BRICK — Environmental groups were not going to be happy with anyone President Donald Trump picked for the Supreme Court. But the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh has them especially worried. On Monday, U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker held a meeting with Clean Water Action and the Sierra Group, discussing why they think Kavanaugh would be detrimental to environmental care.

A conservative who would replace the more moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy, Kavanaugh has a record of slapping back Environmental Protection Agency regulations during his 12 years as a federal appeals court judge.

Kavanaugh could shift the court to the right in many areas. But Kennedy was especially pivotal on environmental cases, ruling with the majority on nearly all of them over 30 years on the bench — and often siding with the environmentalists in the biggest cases.

“It threatens to take us back to the old days,” said Pat Gallagher, the legal director at the Sierra Club, recalling environmental disasters from the 1960s and ’70s. “The Cuyahoga River, Love Canal — when there was no environmental protection.”

Kavanaugh’s backers don’t see him as anti-environment.

“His rulings in cases involving the EPA say far more about the aggressive nature of the EPA in terms of trying to stretch beyond its breaking point its mandate from Congress,” said John Malcolm, vice president of the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government.

Republicans hope the Senate can confirm Kavanaugh by the time the court’s next session begins Oct. 1.

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