Acting under a Supreme Court mandate, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) ruled today that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public
health and contribute to the harmful environmental effects of climate
change, paving the way for pollution regulations under the Clean Air
"Today, EPA announced that greenhouse gases threaten the health and
welfare of the American people," EPA chief Lisa Jackson said at a press conference (audio available here). "We also found that greenhouse gas
emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat."
EPA’s ruling, also known in Washington as an "endangerment finding,"
clears the way for the agency to play a role in implementing new auto
fuel-efficiency standards released by the White House in September.
are the No. 2 contributor to total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the
EPA said today, with electricity generation taking the top spot. "U.S.
emissions from on-road vehicles are also greater than the total
greenhouse gas emissions from every other individual nation, with the
exception of China, Russia, and India," the EPA said in a release on
But given that the "endangerment finding" has
been in the works at the EPA since the earliest days of the Obama
administration, what does today’s announcement mean for the future of
climate change legislation?
In the Senate, where a climate bill that would direct hundreds of billions of dollars to clean transportation remains mired in political maneuvering, Democrats aimed to use the EPA ruling to spur their slow process forward.
message to Congress is crystal clear: get moving," Sen. John Kerry
(D-MA), the climate measure’s chief sponsor, said in a statement. Kerry