EPA: Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and the Environment

by Daniel Brouse

The EPA announced:

"After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people." [View the whole statement.]

The timing of this announcement at the opening of the Copenhagen Climate Conference makes for an interesting political study. The Copenhagen Climate Conference will require Congress to authorize any agreement on behalf of the United States. Quite a few observers have noted that the lobbyist and special interest groups will prevent any substantial change in policy.

The Executive Branch may have just circumvented Congress through the EPA. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency can pass regulations that could be far more dramatic than the "cap-and-trade" proposals.

A glimpse of things to come might be found in the second sentence of their release, "EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat." The EPA already has proposed massive reductions in green house gases for light-duty vehicles. It is possible that the EPA could step-up the MPG regulations required by automakers or even go so far as to ban CO2 emissions.

The EPA's 2009 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report may give additional insight as to what industries are first in line for new regulations:
Industrial Processes
Solvent and Other Product Use
Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry

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