Release Date: Apr 17, 2009Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Warns of Unintended Consequences of EPA Endangerment Finding
Chamber Vows Strong Business Voice During Comment Period
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today warned that a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding could lead to regulations that will hamper America's ability to create jobs, stimulate the economy and improve our energy security.
"Today's proposed finding shows that EPA is at a crossroads when it comes to greenhouse gases," said Bill Kovacs, vice president for Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. "In proposing endangerment without attaching regulations, the EPA recognizes that the framework of the Clean Air Act poses a unique set of legal and, ultimately, economic problems."
"The motor vehicle title of the Act, under which this proposed finding is made, allows EPA the flexibility to phase in regulations while taking into account technological and economic considerations," Kovacs continued. "The rest of the Act, however, does not—and a final endangerment finding will surely spur litigation to shoehorn all emitters, not just motor vehicles, into a wide range of Clean Air Act programs. The EPA therefore has a choice to make: it can proceed at a pace consistent with current and future technology, or it can allow non-governmental entities and activist groups to take the regulations out of EPA's hands and apply the Clean Air Act through the courts. The second option would kill economic growth and jobs."
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today made a proposed finding that the combined emissions of six greenhouse gases cause or contribute to air pollution that endangers public health and welfare. Although the EPA did not attach regulations to the finding, taking such action could lead to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act of 1990, which could jeopardize construction projects and limit the nation's domestic energy production.
"Today's proposed endangerment finding opens the door to regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, a law which was not created or intended for that purpose," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy. "Any future regulations could impact American households and large and small businesses. Therefore, the business community has a vital contribution to make in this debate and in detailing the consequences on our nation's economic growth and recovery."
The proposal does not, in and of itself, make CO2 a "regulated pollutant," nor does it require EPA to regulate carbon at the end of the 60 day comment period. It is EPA's response to the Massachusetts v. EPA decision, which ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions if it found that carbon endangered public health and welfare. Now that the proposed endangerment finding has been released, a 60-day public comment period will take place. Individuals, business and interested parties will have the opportunity to submit comments about the finding to the EPA.
The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.
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