EPA May Regulate CO2, Creating Impetus for Legislation

April 13, 2009

The US Environmental Protection Agency has had the legal authority to regulate carbon emissions since the landmark 2007 Supreme Court decision– but for the first time, there are strong signals that they are about to flex their regulatory muscle and authority. According to the Financial Times, the Obama Administration is preparing to give the EPA “the green light to declare CO2 emissions a danger to public health and welfare.” This would enable the EPA to set rules limiting, or enforce possible legislation limiting emissions. If the EPA is empowered to act on CO2 emissions, the effect on US emissions could be great. This could also provide the impetus needed for Congress to act to preempt EPA action and create its own plan to reduce climate change emissions. At the moment Congress is discussing the Waxman-Markey Bill, legislation that could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. Building a clean energy economy will help create jobs and the infrastructure needed to provide reliable and affordable energy for years to come. Whether emissions are reduced through Congress or the Obama administration, the end goal needs to be same — clean energy and a stable climate.