OMB Approves EPA Finding on Greenhouse Gases
by Matthew Madia
Apr 14, 2009
The White House Office of Management and Budget has approved the Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that greenhouse gas emissions threaten the public. (Thanks to Frank O’Donnell at Clean Air Watch for finding this earlier today; he surmises EPA could officially announce the so-called endangerment finding this week or on Earth Day, April 22.)
Once official, the endangerment finding will oblige EPA to write regulations under the Clean Air Act that limit emissions.
Reuters’ Scott Malone reports on how the pending EPA regulations affect the debate over a proposed cap-and-trade bill introduced in late March. Industry, especially the energy industry, has fought any action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, regulatory or legislative. And while they’re sure to continue to push back against EPA regulations, some in Congress think it’s time for industry to throw its support behind legislation:
Congress, for instance, can take a broader view in designing legislation, contemplating the economic effects of its actions on consumers and business.
"If Congress doesn't act, then clearly there is a residual authority now granted by the Supreme Court of the United States to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases," Markey said. "The only way to avoid that is to have Congress act."
That should encourage business not to fight the proposed legislation, which Markey plans to begin committee hearings on next week.
"It becomes a real factor," Markey said. "Industries across the country will just have to gauge for themselves how lucky they feel if they kill legislation in terms of how the EPA process will include them."
The energy industry should also cotton to a provision in the draft cap-and-trade bill that would actually prohibit EPA from finishing any regulations that stem from its endangerment finding. The provision would effectively nullify a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that determined greenhouse gases to be a pollutant eligible for regulation under the Clean Air Act.
Some energy industry officials generally support cap-and-trade (though the details can be far more prickly). But, as we will likely see when EPA unveils its endangerment finding, the rhetoric surrounding regulatory action will be far more combative. Hopefully, such rhetoric won’t deter EPA from moving forward.back to Blog