EPA takes next step toward regulating greenhouse gases in U.S.

EPA nmoves closer to greenhouse gas regulations.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

One more formal step has been taken by the EPA in its move toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions from major American air polluters. The EPA has formally submitted to the White House its finidng that greenhouse gas emissions are endangering public health. The White House budget office now has up to 90 days to review the finding before allowing the EPA to move ahead with implementing any regulations.

It is not likely the White House will find any major objection to the EPA's proposal to regulate emissions from major industries in the U.S. That means the EPA is likely to move ahead next year on cutting greenhouse gas emissions regardless of any Congressional action or inaction. At this point the Senate is where the energy/environment bill is tied up. And with medical insurance the over-riding issue in Washington, there is little danger of any Congressional action on energy in the near future. The House passed its Waxman-Markey bill last spring.

The EPA is acting under the authority of the Clean Air Act so expect opponents to sue claiming the act does not give the EPA power to regulate CO2. That would happen after the EPA actually issues its regulations.

Barring Congressional action the EPA will be in the center of the fight over greenhouse gas rules in the U.S. And if Congress fails to act many industries will begin to engineer and position themselves to comply with any EPA regs putting even greater value on eliminating coal-burning as a source of industrial energy. And making carbon sequestration an even more attractive possibility. In the short run this should also make natural gas an even more valuable source of energy for traditional industries that need heat rather than simply electricity, that ranges for bakeries to cement plants to wallboard manufacturers to brick makers.

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