Winston & Strawn Issues Briefing:

Winston & Strawn's Environmental Department weighs in regarding EPA's proposed greenhouse gas endangerment finding.

EPA Issues Proposed Endangerment Finding

On April 17, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) cause air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The proposed “endangerment finding,” if finalized, would require EPA to promulgate rules regulating GHG emissions from new motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. The widely held view among industry, environmental advocates, administration officials, and Congressional leaders alike is that regulating GHGs under a comprehensive new statute would be more effective and efficient than doing so under the Clean Air Act. Therefore, some are speculating that EPA issued the proposed endangerment finding to encourage Congress to act on climate change legislation. A draft cap and trade bill introduced by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) on March 31, 2009, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, is currently before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It remains to be seen, however, whether the House and the Senate will be able to reach a consensus on the Waxman-Markey draft bill or on future climate change legislation.

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