Business/SPEA Information Commons

Indiana University Bloomington

EPA to regulate greenhouse gases: Indiana University experts comment

Posted by nlgiu on April 20, 2009

April 17, 2009

EDITORS: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today (April 17) that it intends to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Faculty experts at Indiana University express different reactions but agree that the decision could and should put pressure on Congress to take action on greenhouse gases.

A legally well-founded and appropriate move

Professor A. James Barnes, former deputy administrator and general counsel to the EPA, says the decision is a good one. “I think it is a welcome, legally well-founded and appropriate move as a matter of policy on EPA’s part,” he said. “While Congress did not focus on greenhouse gas pollutants when it crafted the Clean Air Act in 1970, it is clear, nonetheless, that the greenhouse gases meet the definition of air pollutant in the Act.” Barnes, a professor and former dean of the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and an adjunct professor in the IU Maurer School of Law, noted that the Clinton Administration concluded that the EPA had the authority to address greenhouse pollutants, but the Bush Administration reversed that position and declined to take action to regulate them. Two years ago, the Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. EPA, told the EPA it did have that authority and that it should reconsider regulating greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Barnes said that while it still would be several years before any such controls could be put in place on automobiles, the EPA decision could bolster efforts to prompt Congress to approve cap-and-trade legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources, such as coal-burning power plants. Industry has expressed understandable opposition to piecemeal regulation, he said. “The fact that EPA is now on a track to go forward with some regulation under the current law, I think, really ups the ante for Congress to address the issue in a comprehensive fashion.”  ….

For the entire SPEA news release …


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