From AAIA Capital Report
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule on April 17 that declares that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. The endangerment finding is critical and, if finalized, would permit EPA to begin implementing rules to control greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles and stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.
The proposal comes as a result of a 2007 Supreme Court Decision that found that the agency had erred in making a finding that they could not regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The court ruling stated that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the act and that EPA must either issue an endangerment finding or justify a decision not to.
In reaching its decision, EPA stated that its endangerment finding "is based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate."
Although this is the first step toward regulations of greenhouse gases for the first time by the federal government, the Obama administration has told Congress that it would prefer legislation be passed that establishes a market-based scheme for controlling greenhouse gases, rather than attempting to develop a regulatory scheme under the Clean Air Act. The House Energy and Commerce Committee intends to begin considering such legislation next week.
The proposal will be published in the Federal Register in the next several days and then opened to public comment for 60 days. Following review of comments, EPA will then decide whether to make the finding final. A full copy of the EPA proposed rule that was signed by the administrator is available by visiting http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html.