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Environmental Protection Agency Affirms Greenhouse Gas Emissions Endangerment Finding

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on July 29 denied 10 petitions challenging its Dec. 7 determination that greenhouse gas emissions are a threat to public health and must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. 

The finding allows the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for the first time.  EPA's endangerment finding covers emissions of six key greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

"These petitions - based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy - provide no evidence to undermine our determination.  Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement.

Petitions for reconsideration were filed by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Ohio Coal Association, Pacific Legal Foundation, Peabody Energy Co., Southeastern Legal Foundation, the State of Virginia, the State of Texas and Arthur G. Randol III.

Titled "Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Final Rule," the finding was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 15. 

Petitions seeking review of the EPA's determination were also filed by environmental groups, industry groups and companies in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  The D.C. Circuit consolidated the 17 petitions, and states and other entities intervened on both sides of the dispute.  The D.C. Circuit on June 16 held the petitions in abeyance pending the July 29 decision.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the August issue of Mealey's Pollution Liability Report.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit]

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