EPA says greenhouse gases are harmful and must be regulated

Announcement comes as Obama prepares to attend climate conference.

(MSNBC)   WASHINGTON – The Environmental ProtectionAgency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people’s health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson scheduled a news conference for later Monday to announce the so-called endangerment finding, officials told The Associated Press, speaking privately because the announcement had not been made.

The finding is timed to boost the administration’s arguments at an international climate conference — beginning this week — that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation.

President Barack Obama plans to talk with former Vice President Al Gore at the White House on Monday as the president prepares for his appearance on Dec. 18 at the climate summit in Copenhagen. Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work toward combatting climate change.

Obama is also meeting on Wednesday with environmental leaders and U.S. business leaders to discuss climate change.

Under a Supreme Court ruling, the finding of endangerment is needed before the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from power plants, factories and automobiles under the federal Clean Air Act.

The EPA signaled last April that it was inclined to view heat-trapping pollution as a threat to public health and welfare and began to take public comments under a formal rulemaking. The action marked a reversal from the Bush administration, which had declined to aggressively pursue the issue.

Business groups have strongly argued against tackling global warming through the regulatory process of the Clean Air Act. Any such regulations are likely to spawn lawsuits and lengthy legal fights.

Waiting for Congress to act
The EPA and the White House have said regulations on greenhouse gases will not be imminent even after an endangerment finding, saying that the administration would prefer that Congress act to limit such pollution through an economy-wide cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Nevertheless, the EPA has begun the early stages of developing permit requirements on carbon dioxide pollution from large emitters such as power plants. The administration also has said it will require automobile fuel economy to increase to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2016, another push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA’s readiness to tackle climate change is expected to give a boost to U.S. arguments at the climate conference opening in Copenhagen this week that the United States is making broad commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

While the House has approved climate legislation that would cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and about 80 percent by mid-century, the Senate has yet to take up the measure amid strong Republican opposition and reluctance by some centrist Democrats.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., lead author of the Senate bill, has argued that if Congress doesn’t act, the EPA will require greenhouse gas emissions. He has called EPA regulation a “blunt instrument” that would pose a bigger problem for industry than legislation crafted to mitigate some of the costs of shifting away from carbon emitting fossil fuels.

The way was opened for the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to cut climate-changing emissions by the Supreme Court in 2007, when the court declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Act. But the court said the EPA must determine if these pollutants pose a danger to public health and welfare before it can regulate them.


2 Responses to EPA says greenhouse gases are harmful and must be regulated

  • hello jus wanted to thank all of yall for what ur doing. i’m doing everything that i can here aswell. while reading the speach the epa gave on greenhouse gases it made me think and i wanted to pass this on. why want they regulate corps. dumping tons of waste in the water! why dont they even talk about it! how bout the real deadly pollution toxic waste. our kids dont even talk about it anymore just global warming they have got everybodys mind on warming while they dump deadly waste in the water! thanks for your time and keep up the good work.

  • This scares the crud out of me and should scare everyone else too. With or with/out (without in this case) legislation, the Obama Admin. will regulate and take control of almost every aspect of our lives.

    The models the alarmist have provided do not match reality. Yes, I’ll admit our planet has warmed over the past decade. Now it’s not, for the past 10 years. It’s warmed and cooled throughout history. Fact! And, since we supposedly have more CO2 in our atmosphere than ever before, wouldn’t you think that would increase temperatures over the past 10 year? But it’s not. I think I’ve heard that 95% of greenhouse gases (CO2, not as scary sounding as greenhouse gases), is actually water vapor. Huh?

    What the democrats in congress and Obama want with the Cap and Trade Legislation is to cut omissions by 2050 to the level it was in about 1875, when there were no cars and only 98 million people in the U.S. Now there are 480 million in the U.S., and countless automobiles not to mention, evil industry.

    I’m no scientist, but I’m guessing this will be impossible without incredible human sacrifice and loss, either in the form of poverty or drastic population control.

    Given the debate over the science and increase in scientific skepticism, scandals, and deception on the part of the scientists the Administration listens to, shouldn’t we slow down just a bit before pushing through crippling legislation, or regulations in this case, that WILL affect life as we know it in so many ways? When it’s possible it isn’t a real problem or one that constitutes such drastic action?

    Pay attention, people! Call your Congress people. This is big stuff that WILL affect us all in many ways. Or, say good-bye to personal freedom and say hello to years of serious economic hardship. Their motives are not to save the planet I’m afraid. It’s to control the population in more ways than one.

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