EPA Refutes Challenges to its Ability to Regulate Carbon


Photo via Celsias

A total of 10 petitions, including one from the US Chamber of Commerce, were sent to the EPA challenging its 2009 ruling that it can regulate greenhouse gases as a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Today, those 10 petitions were denied on grounds that its finding is still supported conclusively by sound science. The EPA's endangerment finding, which is backed by a landmark Supreme Court ruling, still stands -- for now. See, the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by our nations largest polluters -- it can take to task any company emitting more than 25,000 tons of emissions per year -- has come under fire from both businesses and anti-climate action politicians. Earlier this summer, the EPA's endangerment finding narrowly survived elimination by the Murkowski Amendment, which would have ordered the finding to be ignored. The amendment was voted down 53-47, with all Republicans voting in favor, along with some 'moderate' Democrats.

Another legislative challenge to the endangerment finding is already in the works.

But for now, the EPA's ruling is safe -- and it is still set to start taking on the nation's biggest carbon polluters in 2011, now only a matter of months away. The 10 petitions challenging the rule were sent by the likes of the US Chamber of Commerce, the states of Virginia and Texas, and a number of coal industry groups. The EPA carefully reviewed each, but (correctly) found that the scientific evidence supporting the endangerment finding was sound, and that greenhouse gases that cause climate change are a threat to the public.

Here's the Sierra Club's executive director commenting on the news:

"Today, the EPA took the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other climate deniers to school. Lisa Jackson's announcement demonstrates once again the undeniable scientific evidence linking greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants to climate change and public health issues.

The science supporting the Endangerment Finding of the Clean Air Act remains strong and has been reinforced by recent additional major assessments and individual scientific studies, effectively debunking the petitioners' claims that the science underlying the EPA's determination was flawed or corrupted.

It is now especially important that the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions be protected -- with the climate bill dead in the Senate, it is now the best tool we have for fighting climate change on the national stage.

More on the EPA Endangerment Finding
It's Official: EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Endanger Public Health
EPA Administrator Pens Blog Against Murkowski's 'Dirty Air Act'
States Step Up to Defend Endangerment Finding

Tags: Barack Obama | Carbon Emissions | Congress | EPA | United States