WASHINGTON -- The EPA on Friday proposed a finding that greenhouse gases from new vehicles and industrial plants pose a danger to the public, kicking off a process that could result in tighter regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. The EPA's findings come two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the agency to determine whether these emissions contribute to harmful air pollution under the Clean Air Act or whether the science is too uncertain.
The long-expected move by the EPA sets the stage for the agency to use its power to revisit the auto industry's fuel economy standards. With the exception of electric vehicles, all cars and trucks emit carbon dioxide. The only way to reduce those emissions is to improve fuel economy.
Federal law already requires automakers to improve their average fleet fuel economy to 35 mpg by 2020. That's a 40 percent improvement over current levels, and automakers fear standards could become even tougher.
The EPA move marks a reversal of Bush administration policy, which opposed mandatory limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, citing the potential for harm to the economy. The proposed EPA finding will be published soon in the Federal Register, an action that will start a 60-day comment period.
Said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement: "This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations."
Both Jackson and President Barack Obama have previously said they prefer comprehensive legislation on climate change over federal regulation. Congress is now considering such bills.
(Source: Automotive News)