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Lisa Jackson yesterday announced the EPA's finding that carbon emissions threatened the U.S. via global warming and were thus covered under the Clean Air Act. She plans to implement tough new fuel economy restrictions and new restrictions on manufacturing and power businesses.  (Source: The Detroit News)

The findings give ammo to President Obama's plan to crack down on polluting vehicles. Under the plan by 2016 automakers will have to achieve a fleetwide efficiency of 34.1 mpg or face steep fines.  (Source: Dugan Racing)
Is our lifestyle threatening our planet? The EPA thinks so.

Climate change has taken on the trappings of high drama.  Recent leaked climate emails are threatening to discredit much of the work of a significant UK climate center by suggesting manipulation of the peer review process and falsification of data and advocates of warming are pointing to countless other studies worldwide and suggesting that the time for action is now.  In Copenhagen, world climate talks have began.

And it appears one way or another the U.S. is going to get tough on emissions.  President Obama recently promised to cut U.S. emissions by 83 percent by 2050.  Yesterday, the EPA announced that it would be moving to bypass Congress and implement the foundation of such cuts.

Currently a global warming bill that would implement a carbon trading scheme -- the plan to cut emissions endorsed by President Obama -- has passed the House, but is stuck in a deadlocked Senate with the vote drawn largely on partisan lines.  An alternate route has emerged, to push through climate regulations, though.  The foundation of this approach stems from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that global warming was covered by the previously passed Clean Air Act. 

The EPA has been evaluating this claim and yesterday announced that its "endangerment finding" revealed that carbon emissions were indeed a threat to the nation's health and covered under the clean air act.  Describes EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, "This long-overdue finding cements 2009's place in history as the year when the United States government began seriously addressing the challenge of greenhouse gas pollution.  [Greenhouse gases] are the primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly; increases in ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses."

The agency's plans to implement new rules to combat this "threat' are now being aired.

The biggest immediate impact of the decision will be its role in enabling the fuel economy mandates delivered by President Obama.  Under the mandates, large automakers will need to implement fleetwide efficiency of 34.1 mpg by 2016.  That provision is expected to cost the automakers $60B USD.  The plan will essentially push California's emissions targets onto the entire nation.  Advocates say the efficiency upgrade is long overdue.  Critics, though, complain that it will damage an already sick industry.

Similar criticisms exist about the other half of the EPA's action plan -- its plan to regulate greenhouse gases from the power and manufacturing industries.  Some argue that this will result in higher power costs and the movement of manufacturing business overseas to countries like China that do not yet regulate greenhouse emissions.

Jeff Holmstead, EPA air administrator from 2001-05, during the Bush administration, delivered mixed praise for the initiatives.  He states, "[The decision is a] necessary prerequisite for the regulation of greenhouse gases from cars, trucks, businesses, factories, farms, and potentially even apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals.  The hard part is still to come. EPA now has to figure out how it will regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act without undermining the fragile economic recovery."

Robert Meyers, who led the EPA air and radiation office under President George W. Bush, comments that the EPA is approaching the point of no return when it comes to implementing regulation.  He comments, "The main event is to come. EPA indicates that new rules will be issued starting next spring. It will be very difficult to turn back, much less undo all that will be done."

Some businesses and lobbies have threatened to sue the EPA to try to block any new regulations, should they be put into place.



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Where is the accountability?
By JediJeb on 12/8/2009 5:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
When the put into this regulation that if in 10 years it is proven that man is not the reason for the climate warming then all the money that was taken from us by fines, taxes and increased expense because of the rule will be returned, then we will know that they truely have our interest and the interest of our nation in mind. Anything less means they are only interested in putting forth their ideals and agendas for what they "think" might be a problem.

If someone like a drug company does something that later turns out to not be the right thing, they fall under class action law suits or worse and must repay the people affected by their decisions. I think it is time our government has to play by the same rules. If this ruling does not have the effect it was supposed to, then the ones that made it are responsible for the consequences. If something like the health care bill does not do what we are told it will do, then those who voted for it should be held responsible. It would cause government officials to actually consider their actions instead of just acting on their whims. Advertisers can not make false claims as to what their products can do, shouldn't lawmakers be held to the same standards? When you consider the Senate, House of Representatives, Judicial branch and Administrative branch of government, you have a few hundred people making decisions that effect several million people, so the responsibility for their actions should be very great.

One of the Rights( and Duties) that US citizens have is to hold their elected representatives responsible for their actions, but we have not doing our part as citizens for many years. We have the Right of Recall, and it should be something all elected officials have in the back of their minds that could happen to them if they do something stupid, yet one of the few times I have ever heard of it being used was when Arnold became Govenor. To allow this one person to make such a sweeping decision unchecked is to turn our backs on what our nation was built on. And I'm sorry but just because she is head of the EPA is not something that should give her so much power.




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