EPA proposal calls global warming a threat to public health

In an apparent action to boost prospects for a global warming emissions cap, the US EPA reportedly sent a proposal to the White House determining that global warming is a threat to public health.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 24 -- In an action that appears to boost prospects for a federal global warming emissions cap, the US Environmental Protection Agency reportedly sent a proposal to the White House on Mar. 20 determining that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare, US Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said on Mar. 23.

"This finding will officially end the era of denial on global warming," Markey said. "Instead of allowing political interference in scientific and legal decisions, as was the case in the previous administration, the Obama administration is letting the sun shine in on the dangerous realities of global warming," added Markey, who chairs the US House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

An EPA spokeswoman confirmed the proposal's existence and its delivery to the White House, but said it was an internal document, which the agency developed in response to a US Supreme Court directive.

"If the proposal is issued, it will undergo public comment and public hearings before it becomes final. The document does not propose any requirements on any sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed finding does not impose any new regulatory burdens on any projects, let alone those funded under the American Relief and Recovery Act," she said.

Markey, however, said that he and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) are drafting climate and energy legislation to control emissions that cause global warming, and an endangerment finding by EPA would send a strong signal to companies and industries pumping heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere that they will have to curb such emissions.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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