In huge news for environmentalists (and, more generally, anybody who worries about the fate of human life), the EPA, with the support of the White House, has determined that greenhouse gases are dangerous to public health. This has been coming down the pipe for some time, but now that it’s official, it opens the door for the EPA to begin regulating Carbon Dioxide. But before they do, the House and Senate will probably take a stab at climate change legislation, and this ruling will no doubt affect the speed and thoroughness with which they act.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) responded with typical couth. “Today’s action by the EPA is the beginning of a regulatory barrage that will destroy jobs, raise energy prices for consumers, and undermine America’s global competitiveness,” Inhofe said. “It’s worth noting that the solution to this ‘glorious mess’ is not for Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation, which replaces one very bad approach with another. Congress should pass a simple, narrowly-targeted bill that stops EPA in its tracks.”
We await the introduction of that legislation.Green groups have, unsurprisingly, taken a different position. League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said, “With this endangerment finding, the EPA has taken a step towards a cleaner, safer, more prosperous future for our country. The next critical step is for Congress to pass a comprehensive clean energy bill that will create millions of jobs, improve our security and protect our planet.”
And David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council said, “With this step, Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Obama administration have gone a long way to restore respect for both science and law. The era of defying science and the Supreme Court has ended.
Acknowledging that global warming pollution is dangerous to our health and our environment requires the EPA to follow up with standards under the Clean Air Act — the nation’s most effective environmental law — to curb carbon pollution from our cars, power plants, and other industrial sources.