Clean Air Act All Wrong for Greenhouse Gases

Washington, D.C., July 22, 2008—This morning the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee will be investigating the White House’s
strategy on the regulation of greenhouse gases and, in particular, the Environmental
Protection Agency’s response to the Supreme Court verdict in Massachusetts v. EPA (2007).

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency
released a “staff draft” for public comment on possible ways to regulate
greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, in response to the Supreme Court’s
verdict. In the preface, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson makes clear that the
document, known as an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), demonstrates
that the Clean Air Act is ill-suited for the task of regulating global
greenhouse gases (GHGs).

“Johnson not only affirmed that the regulatory alternatives
discussed in the ANPR are not EPA decisions or policy recommendations, he also
attached to his preface the reviews of several other agencies — all sharply
critical of proposals to regulate GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act,” said
Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.

Johnson warned that if EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor
vehicles under the Clean Air Act, as sought by the plaintiffs in Mass. v.
EPA, regulation of smaller GHG sources, such as apartment buildings, large
homes, schools, and hospitals, could also be triggered. The potential
regulation of GHGs under the Clean Air Act could result in an unprecedented
expansion of EPA authority.

“The ANPR, along with Johnson’s preface and the accompanying agency comments,
all make one thing very clear — setting GHG emission standards for new motor
vehicles under Section 202 the Clean Air Act would open a regulatory Pandora’s
Box,” said Lewis. “It would trigger a regulatory cascade through multiple Clean
Air Act provisions that would dwarf in cost and intrusiveness every climate
bill that Congress in its wisdom has so far declined to pass.”

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