Jenner & Block: Prelude to Regulation--EPA Announces Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Findings

In this Emerging Issues commentary, Gabrielle Sigel and Michael R. Strong of Jenner & Block discuss the U.S. EPA’s decision that greenhouse gases emitted from motor vehicles and stationary sources cause an endangerment to public health and welfare. This decision may lead to regulation of emissions under the federal Clean Air Act. Sigel and Strong give practice pointers to help deal with these potential regulations. They write:
"EPA's action follows the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which held that GHGs, including carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles, are a 'pollutant' under the Clean Air Act. Therefore, under Clean Air Act § 202, U.S. EPA was required to decide whether these emissions 'cause or contribute' to air pollution which 'may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare,' or whether the science is too uncertain to allow a decision."
"On April 24, 2009, EPA released proposed findings that anthropomorphic GHG emissions endangered human health and welfare and that motor vehicle emissions cause or contribute to the health and welfare risks."
"On December 7, 2009, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the agency had finalized its decision that greenhouse gases ('GHGs') constitute an endangerment to public health and welfare (the 'endangerment finding') and that GHGs emitted from motor vehicles cause or contribute to this endangerment (the 'cause or contribute finding'). EPA's decision, to be published as a Final Rule, clears the path for regulation of GHG emissions from vehicles and stationary sources under the federal Clean Air Act."
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