Today Life:Powered released a new research paper, A Dangerous Precedent: How the Endangerment Finding Expanded the EPA’s Regulatory Powers. The paper is the first of a two-part series detailing how the EPA has developed a growing suite of regulations on greenhouse gases despite the lack of explicit authority from Congress. The release of these papers comes at a time when the Biden Administration is seeking to drastically expand the EPA’s regulatory power, including proposing new regulations on methane later this month.
“The Clean Air Act does not explicitly call for the regulation of greenhouse gases, and the clear intent of Congress was to avoid such regulation. However, legal maneuvering has given the EPA unprecedented power to inject climate politics into environmental rulemaking,” said Life:Powered Policy Director Brent Bennett, Ph.D. “Unelected bureaucrats have been allowed to treat greenhouse gases as real pollutants, ignoring scientific realities and obscuring the public understanding of both air quality and climate change.”
- The Clean Air Act (CAA) does not explicitly call for the regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and the clear intent of Congress was to avoid such regulation. However, legal maneuvering has made GHG regulation possible under the CAA.
- In 2007, the Supreme Court determined in Massachusetts v. EPA that GHGs are air pollutants and that the EPA must decide whether they endanger human health to the degree required by the CAA for regulation.
- In 2009, under President Obama, the EPA issued a finding of endangerment for GHG emissions from vehicles, beginning a broad campaign to enact GHG regulations under the CAA.
- Under President Trump, the EPA limited GHG regulation but declined to eliminate any endangerment findings for GHGs.