Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today welcomed news from Lisa Jackson, the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that the agency has issued a proposed finding that greenhouse gas emissions “endanger public health or welfare.” Senator Feinstein chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

“This is good news. This endangerment finding, when final, will likely compel the Environmental Protection Agency’s first major actions to deal with the emissions from vehicles and large stationary sources that are causing global warming,” said Senator Feinstein. “With today’s proposed endangerment finding and the agency’s previous announcement that it will reconsider California’s waiver request, the EPA is demonstrating that it will act expeditiously to address climate change. This is a major reversal of Bush Administration policy – and a confirmation that the EPA has restored science-based decision-making.”

The proposed EPA endangerment determination issued today was compelled by the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Massachusetts v. EPA case, which ruled the Clean Air Act requires the agency to determine whether the emissions of greenhouse gases may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, and then, comply with the Clean Air Act requirements regarding such emissions.

The previous EPA Administrator, Stephen Johnson, and the Bush Administration’s White House Office of Management and Budget had refused to issue an endangerment determination as required by the Supreme Court.  Staff scientists at the EPA dedicated thousands of hours of professional staff time to considering whether greenhouse gas pollution endangers public health and welfare, and reportedly sent a draft finding of endangerment to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in late 2007.  The White House never approved the document for release.

On April 2, 2008, the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, Senator Feinstein and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding Deadline and California Waiver Reconsideration Act (S.2806).  The legislation set firm deadlines for EPA to make a final endangerment finding and to reconsider California’s request for a Clean Air Act waiver required to enforce the state’s tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles.