Issue Date: July 21, 2008
EPA Seeks Views on CO2 Rule
EPA released a 564-page proposal and supporting documents last week seeking public comments on the use of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal was required by a U.S. Supreme Court decision made in April. The decision overturned the Bush Administration's view that EPA lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Although ostensibly seeking comments, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson made clear his opposition to using the act to control CO2 emissions. He called the act "an outdated law" and "ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases." He warned that its use for climate-change regulation "could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that could have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land." Johnson also made clear that he was only seeking views and that no actual plan will emerge in the waning days of the Bush Administration. Buried among the background material in the proposal, however, were several EPA internal analyses that are likely to be influential in future attempts to regulate CO2. One, for instance, projects that ozone-related deaths will increase by approximately 4.5% from the 1990s to 2050 because of higher temperatures driven by climate change.
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