Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Should Clean Air Act regulate carbon dioxide?

Should the US government regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions? If so, how? These questions and related issues are drawing much attention among lawmakers this year.

The Obama administration issued a notice Apr. 14 saying the Environmental Protection Agency will review whether CO2 emissions should fall under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The EPA already was reviewing whether CO2 should be regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

The Obama administration’s notice about the CWA stems from a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, which wants to protect ocean water from ocean acidification.

The EPA is contemplating mandatory reporting of GHG emissions. In April 2007, the US Supreme Court ordered the Bush administration to reconsider whether GHG emissions are pollutants subject to regulation under the CAA.

H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, questions the CAA approach. He argues that if it must be undertaken at all, then Congress should pass a law directly addressing CO2.

“The regulation of CO2 should not be done through bureaucratic bootstrapping current clean air laws,” Burnett said. “Since this will affect the economy as a whole, it should be undertaken by those directly accountable to the voters or the nation as a whole.”

It will be interesting to see whether others, particularly Congress, adopt his philosophy.

Meanwhile, US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) suggests the committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee will discuss energy and climate legislation on Earth Day, Apr. 22.

Waxman and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee, introduced proposed legislation, the 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES).

Waxman expects that the full committee will complete consideration of the legislation by Memorial Day.

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March 28, 2017 at 11:03 PM  

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