Obama, EPA Finalizing ‘Endangerment Finding’ on Emissions

by | Dec 7, 2009

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carbon emissions sunset2The Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration are expected to announce the long-awaited — and long-feared, by some — ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to public health and welfare, according to news reports.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has planned a “significant climate announcement” at 1:15 Eastern Dec. 7.

The so-called “endangerment finding” is likely to put in motion a nationwide cap-and-trade program, even if Congress does not enact such legislation, reports the Washington Post.

In response, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) is telling his Republican colleagues they should back a climate bill so that Congress, not the EPA, defines the rules on national emissions, reports The Hill.

If Jackson announces the endangerment finding as expected, large polluters would be required to upgrade machinery to reduce emissions.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, in a statement released to the Wall Street Journal, said that EPA’s ruling could lead to a “top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project.”

Dan Riedinger, spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group, told WSJ that the EPA would be less likely than Congress to devise an “economywide” approach to emissions regulations that spreads the burden of emissions cuts to other economic sectors.

Under preliminary EPA drafts of the ruling, facilities that emit less than 25,000 tons of CO2e annually would be exempt.

In September, EPA said that large emitters of greenhouse gases will have to begin collecting their emissions data Jan. 1 under the new reporting system.

The program will apply to about 10,000 facilities that emit about 85 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases.

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