The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the emission of a mix of greenhouse gases, including methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrofluorocarbons, constitutes a threat to the public health and welfare. In 2007, the Supreme Court held that EPA had the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gas emissions that it determined to be a danger to the public health and welfare. Under that authority, the EPA has proposed to regulate the emissions from motor vehicles and power plants and factories to ensure that these large emitters are using the best available technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Within the next two weeks, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on a bill introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK), S.J. Res. 26, which would prevent the EPA from using its authority under the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This bill would undermine the EPA's authority to act in the best interest of the nation's public health by officially disapproving of the EPA's finding of endangerment and prohibiting its regulation of gases from taking effect. It would exempt the nation's largest polluters from taking responsibility for their emission of harmful gases into our air. Such an action would interfere with the most effective and immediate effort to reduce the worst impacts of climate change in the absence of comprehensive climate change legislation. It would also short-circuit the move to the use of more sustainable forms of energy.
As Congress continues to debate over climate change legislation, the emission of greenhouse gases continues unabated, further damaging air quality and increasing smog and ozone problems. Now is not the time to interfere with EPA's efforts to make our air cleaner and reduce the harmful effects of greenhouse gases.