Trade groups oppose greenhouse gas emissions limits on new vehicles


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 24 -- The American Petroleum Institute and 25 other trade associations are opposing a proposal that would impose greenhouse gas emission limits on new US vehicles and engines.

National Ocean Industries Association and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association also are part of the coalition.

On Jan. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency solicited public comments on a 1999 petition by environmental groups and renewable energy interests demanding the EPA impose limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The petition argued EPA must impose such requirements under the Clean Air Act to address potential impacts of global warming.

API Pres. Red Cavaney said in a letter, "Congress has not authorized EPA to take any regulatory action to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from any source. In particular the Clean Air Act does not authorize -- much less mandate -- EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles."

Cavaney's May 23 letter to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman was written on behalf of the national trade associations. It also was sent to various Cabinet members and White House officials.

The trade associations, representing a broad range of industry, filed joint comments with the agency arguing the petition should be denied on legal and policy grounds.

They said EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions from new motor vehicles is limited to "air pollutants" anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. However, EPA has never determined greenhouse gases are air pollutants, the associations said.

"In fact, President [George W.] Bush recently stated that CO2 is not a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Nor has EPA ever determined that CO2 or other "greenhouse gases" endanger health or welfare," they said.

The trade associations also said imposing mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gases from US vehicles, would contradict longstanding congressional and executive branch policy.

"It would also amount to implementing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming prior to its ratification, which Congress has expressly prohibited. Further, the present administration has recently announced that it opposes the Kyoto Protocol and will not seek its ratification," they added.

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