12.07.09

Leahy Hails EPA Finding on Greenhouse Gases

. . . ‘Enforcing The Clean Air Act, Instead Of Flinching From It And From The Threat Of Climate Change’

WASHINGTON (Monday, Dec. 7) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday applauded EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for announcing the agency’s official finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.

The conclusion, which comes after thorough examination of what EPA describes as overwhelming scientific evidence and a large tide of public comments, sets the stage for agency steps to address the harm of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change and other threats to the public and to the U.S. and global economies.

Leahy said, “These findings are long overdue.  The previous administration repeatedly ignored the undeniable evidence of the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions.  This is a turnabout grounded in the scientific evidence.  We finally have an EPA that intends to enforce the Clean Air Act instead of flinching from it.  Greenhouse gas pollution poses a trans-generational threat to our country and its people.”

Background On The Endangerment Finding --

The Bush Administration refused to issue this endangerment finding despite the fact the Supreme Court, in its Massachusetts v. EPA decision in 2007, directed EPA to reconsider whether greenhouse gases are pollutants subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.  Bush appointees ignored and even deliberately suppressed scientific analysis from EPA scientists urging action.  The Clean Air Act allows the EPA to regulate major sources of global warming emissions, including power plants and vehicles, which together generate more than half of the heat-trapping emissions produced in the United States.  

Vermont was one of nearly a dozen states that joined Massachusetts in the lawsuit seeking EPA enforcement to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.  Vermont was also one of the first states to adopt California’s regulations to control GHGs from new motor vehicles pursuant to the Clean Air Act.  Vermont was subsequently challenged by the auto industry in court in Green Mountain Chrysler v. Crombie, and in 2007 the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont ruled in Vermont’s favor.

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