12 July 2008

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) soliciting public input on the effects of climate change and the potential ramifications of the Clean Air Act in relation to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The ANPR reflects the complexity and the magnitude of the question of whether and how greenhouse gases could be effectively controlled under the Clean Air Act”, said EPA Administrator S. Johnson.

The ANPR was released in response to the April 2, 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which found that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and can be regulated under the Clean Air Act if EPA determines it may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. With the ANPR, however, the EPA still has not made the endangerment finding in regards to CO2 and/or GHG emissions. Rather, the EPA is soliciting public input on the various potential regulatory possibilities, without suggesting or proposing any specific course of action. The ANPR also reviews various petitions, lawsuits and court deadlines before the EPA, and the effect regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act could have on the economy.

According to some of the court petitions, the EPA has already prepared an endangerment finding in regards to GHG emission regulations. A Congressional investigation by Henry Waxman confirmed that the EPA sent its draft endangerment determination and proposed regulations to the Office of Management & Budget in December 2007, but the regulatory process was stalled.

The ANPR’s publication in the Federal Register begins a 120-day public comment period. It is unlikely that any GHG emission regulations will be proposed before the US presidential elections.

Source: US EPA (Press release | ANPR)