Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately comply with a Congressional mandate to issue a draft rule for an economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions registry, an essential first step towards reducing global warming emissions through a cap-and-trade system.  The statutory deadline for the draft rule is today, September 26, 2008.

The reporting provision, which was included in the Fiscal Year 2008 consolidated appropriations bill (Omnibus), provided $3.5 million for the EPA to develop and publish a rule establishing a greenhouse gas emissions registry for all sectors of the U.S. economy.  The EPA Administrator would determine the appropriate thresholds of emissions above which reporting would be necessary.  The Administrator could use existing reporting requirements for utilities under the Clean Air Act, and could build on the pioneering work of the multi-state Climate Registry.

The Omnibus was enacted on December 26, 2007, and required that the draft rule be developed and published within nine months, which is today. The final rule must be completed within 18 months of enactment, which is June 26, 2009. 

The measure was sponsored by Senators Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Following it the text of Chairman Feinstein to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, expressing her deep disappointment at the EPA’s delay:


September 26, 2008


The Honorable Stephen Johnson
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C.  20460

Dear Administrator Johnson:

I am deeply disappointed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to meet its statutory deadline of today, September 26, 2008, to release a draft rule requiring the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors of the economy.  In fact, EPA has yet to even initiate the Office of Management and the Budget (OMB) interagency review process, which typically takes 90 days or longer.  

I am especially concerned that your failure to meet this deadline comes despite the unequivocal commitment that you gave when testifying about the greenhouse gas reporting rule at a March 4, 2008 hearing before the U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee:  "Madame Chairman, just to make clear for the record, we are working on a draft regulation, and I intend to make sure that we meet our mandate of having a proposal, and I believe the date is September."  I urge you to honor your commitment, and to complete and publish the draft rule as soon as possible. 

As you know, President George W. Bush signed the Fiscal Year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) on December 26, 2007.   The Act requires EPA to release a draft rule providing for mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases within nine months of its enactment, no later than September 26, 2008.  The Act also directs EPA to finalize the rule no later than June 26, 2009.   This legislation will allow EPA to use its existing Clean Air Act authority to gather critical baseline data on greenhouse gas emissions, which is essential information that Agency and Congressional policymakers need as we move forward to fix the monumental environmental problem of global climate change. 

It is critical that our nation begin the process of collecting information that is essential for developing intelligent policy.   Your agency has already delayed for nearly 18 months its response to the Supreme Court’s April 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA ruling, which requires EPA to determine whether the emission of greenhouse gases endangers public health and welfare.  All EPA has done so far in response to the Supreme Court is to issue a notice that the agency is thinking about the issue.   Has EPA now become unwilling even to comply with a regulatory deadline that the President approved within the last year, a deadline which simply requires you to begin the process of collecting the information necessary for developing sound climate change policy? 

I hope that the answer is no.  I therefore request that you personally intervene in the rulemaking process to ensure that EPA transmits its draft reporting rule to OMB as soon as possible and to bring about speedy review of the proposal once it is received by OMB.  I also request that you notify me once the rule has been transmitted to OMB so that I can monitor its progress.  

The nation simply cannot afford to wait any longer for EPA to take this important first step toward measuring greenhouse gas emissions.  I look forward to hearing back from you soon. 

 Sincerely,


Dianne Feinstein
Chairman
Subcommittee on Interior,
Environment and Related Agencies


 
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