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Senators Feinstein and Snowe Introduce Measure to Set Deadline for EPA to Complete Endangerment Finding on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

- Measure introduced on one-year anniversary of Supreme Court ruling in landmark Massachusetts v. EPA decision -

Washington, DC – In the face of EPA’s failure to comply with the Supreme Court’s mandate in Massachusetts v. EPA issued one year ago today, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced legislation to set a deadline for EPA to complete an endangerment finding on the public health threat from greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would require action within 60 days of enactment.

The measure also requires EPA to reconsider the denial of California’s Clean Air Act waiver to regulate tailpipe emissions. Administrator Johnson denied the waiver on December 19, 2007, despite the unanimous recommendation from EPA’s legal and technical staff that the waiver be issued.  The bill would require action no later than June 30, 2009.

“The Supreme Court ruled last year that EPA must take steps to determine the public health dangers from global warming. Yet one year later, EPA has failed to act,” Senator Feinstein said. “This is unacceptable. 

Senator Snowe and I have introduced a bill that will set a firm deadline for EPA to complete the endangerment finding.  We know from reports that the work has already been done. All that remains is for the finding to be issued. We also set a deadline for the Agency to reconsider its unprecedented denial of California’s waiver to regulate tailpipe emissions. Bottom line: EPA must fulfill its responsibility to protect the environment and public health from global warming.”

“The Administration has a court-mandated obligation that they can no longer ignore. Their deliberate efforts to delay adherence to the Supreme Court’s decision is reckless and irresponsible,” Senator Snowe said. “The Administration’s response to global warming must coincide with what the science and the American people require.”

The Feinstein-Snowe bill would require that:

  • Within 60 days of enactment, EPA must comply with the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA ruling to complete an endangerment finding to determine whether the emissions of greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, and then comply with the Clean Air Act requirements that result from this determination.
  • No later than June 30, 2009, EPA must reconsider its decision to deny the State of California a Clean Air Act waiver that would have allowed the state to limit tailpipe greenhouse gas pollution from cars and trucks.

The legislation comes in the wake of EPA Administrator Johnson’s announcement last week that the agency is not prepared to issue an endangerment finding. Instead, Johnson stated, the Agency will begin a process of soliciting comments from the public as they “consider” regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, and that the process will begin at some indeterminate point “later this spring.”

EPA has had a full year to collect public comment and consider the implications of its response, and it has done so.  EPA staff told Congress that they spent thousands of hours writing an endangerment finding and proposed regulations this past autumn.  A draft has already been submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget.