On 30 July 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a formal notice announcing a proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. For complete details on this notice and for instructions for submitting comments, please go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-16432.pdf .

The following remarks from the Administrator of the EPA preface the request for comments on the proposed rulemaking. The following is excerpted from the official Federal Register notice.

In this Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks comment on analyses and policy alternatives regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) effects and regulation under the Clean Air Act. In particular, EPA seeks comment on the document entitled "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act'' and observations and issues raised by other federal agencies. This notice responds to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA and numerous petitions related to the potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

EPA's analyses leading up to this ANPR have increasingly raised questions of such importance that the scope of the agency's task has continued to expand. For instance, it has become clear that if EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act, then regulation of smaller stationary sources that also emit GHGs--such as apartment buildings, large homes, schools, and hospitals--could also be triggered. One point is clear: The potential regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of the Clean Air Act could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land.

This ANPR reflects the complexity and magnitude of the question of whether and how greenhouse gases could be effectively controlled under the Clean Air Act. This document summarizes much of EPA's work and lays out concerns raised by other federal agencies during their review of this work. EPA is publishing this notice today because it is impossible to simultaneously address all the agencies' issues and respond to our legal obligations in a timely manner.

I believe the ANPR demonstrates the Clean Air Act, an outdated law originally enacted to control regional pollutants that cause direct health effects, is ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases. Based on the analysis to date, pursuing this course of action would inevitably result in a very complicated, time-consuming and, likely, convoluted set of regulations. These rules would largely pre-empt or overlay existing programs that help control greenhouse gas emissions and would be relatively ineffective at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations given the potentially damaging effect on jobs and the U.S. economy.

Your input is important. I am committed to making the data and models EPA is using to form our policies transparent and available to the public. None of the views or alternatives raised in this notice represents Agency decisions or policy recommendations. It is premature to do so. Rather, I am publishing this ANPR for public comment and review. In so doing, I am requesting comment on the views of other federal agencies that are presented below including important legal questions regarding endangerment. I encourage the public to (1) understand the magnitude and complexity of the Supreme Court's direction in Massachusetts v. EPA and (2) comment on the many questions raised in this notice.


back to Public Policy Reports

Bookmark and Share