Testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Greenhouse Gas Regulation under the Clean Air Act

My name is Marlo Lewis. I am a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market, non-profit public policy group. I have been active in the debate on carbon dioxide and the Clean Air Act for nearly a decade. For example, in the 106th Congress, I served as staff director for Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN) when he held the first congressional hearing on the issue and engaged EPA General Counsel Gary S. Guzy in a series of oversight letters examining and challenging the Clinton Administration’s interpretation of EPA’s authority with respect to carbon dioxide.

Let me cut to the chase. I believe we would not be here today if the Justices of the Supreme Court had known back in April 2007, when they decided Massachusetts v EPA, what has since become painfully clear: The Clean Air Act is a flawed, unsuitable, and potentially destructive instrument for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As EPA’s July 2008 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) documents, because of the Act’s multiple interconnections, setting greenhouse gas emission standards for new motor vehicles under Section 202 could trigger massive, economy-chilling regulation under the New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration (NSR/PSD) and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) programs.

Few Members of Congress would vote to regulate carbon dioxide under the PSD and NAAQS programs, especially in these perilous times of financial chaos and high energy prices. It is inconceivable that those who drafted and enacted the Clean Air Act intended for it to undermine the economy and jeopardize environmental enforcement. Yet economic devastation and administrative paralysis are real risks if EPA attempts to pound the square peg of climate policy into the round hole of the Clean Air Act.