EPA denies requests to reconsider GHG finding

By Kris Bevill | July 15, 2010
Posted July 30, 2010

The U.S. EPA has, as predicted, officially denied 10 petitions challenging its 2009 endangerment finding regarding greenhouse gases (GHGs). In the endangerment finding, the EPA said that GHGs endanger both public health and the environment and found that anthropogenic emissions are contributing to GHG air pollution. As a result of this finding, the EPA believes it is obligated to regulate GHG emissions under the authority granted to it in the Clean Air Act.

In order to prevent the EPA from regulating GHGs, opposing entities must prove that the endangerment finding is false. Petitioners asked the EPA to reconsider its finding based on claims that the climate science used in its finding was not accurate. The EPA denies those claims and, in fact, asserts that climate change is growing stronger.

"The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said. "These petitions - based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and manufactured controversy - provide no evidence to under our determination. Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare. Defenders of the status quo will try to slow our efforts to get America running on clean energy. A better solution would be to join the vast majority of the American people who want to see more green jobs, more clean energy innovation and an end to the oil addiction that pollutes our planet and jeopardizes our national security."

While the EPA's reconsideration of its endangerment finding is complete, the case is not yet closed. All of the groups that filed petitions with the EPA also filed legal challenges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Petitioners included the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Gerdau Ameristeel, Peabody Energy, the Southeastern Legal Foundation and the states of Alabama, Texas and Virginia. According to one petitioner's spokeswoman, the EPA's denial of the reconsideration requests could be appealable through the court system and would likely be consolidated with the already filed litigation. If a court decision was reached in favor of the petitioners, it could prevent the EPA from further regulating GHG emissions from selected entities, including many ethanol plants.