The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed finding Friday saying six greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare, which is the first step toward their regulation.
In the proposed finding, EPA said human emissions of the gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – have led to unprecedented levels of concentration, “very likely” causing changes to climate and affecting human health. EPA also said its analysis shows climate change has serious national security implications.
The Agency’s proposed finding is a reaction to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that GHGs could be regulated if they presented a health threat. The Bush Administration declined to take action toward regulation, but the Obama Administration has been reviewing the issue.
The EPA’s statement on the proposed finding and other comments from Obama Administration officials in recent days have made it clear the Administration prefers a legislative rather than a regulatory reaction to the issue of global warming.
Leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a discussion draft of climate change legislation before Congress’ current recess, and NAWG expects this issue to be top-of-mind in the next few months of the Congressional session.
The proposed endangerment finding now enters a 60-day public comment period. For more about it and how to comment, please visit http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html