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February 5, 2009

States Urge new EPA Administrator to Act on Greenhouse Gases

States, New York City and Baltimore urge EPA to act on climate-change ruling.

State Attorneys General are urging new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to begin the process of regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Go to 2-5-09 letter to EPA.

Eighteen states and the cities of Baltimore and New York noted in a letter to Jackson that little action had been taken by prior EPA officials, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April 2007 that established EPA’s responsibility to regulate greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act (Massachusetts v. EPA.)

The Supreme Court’s April 2, 2007, ruling ordered the EPA to formally declare whether carbon dioxide and other global warming gases from motor vehicles and other sources could harm human health, and, if so, to regulate the emissions under the Clean Air Act.

With that two-year anniversary fast approaching, the states’ letter said, “we urge you to act as soon as possible by issuing a determination . . . that greenhouse gas emissions are endangering public health and welfare.” The next step would be for the EPA to consider establishing applicable emission standards.

Last year, in a letter to Stephen L. Johnson, Jackson’s predecessor as EPA Administrator, the states said the EPA’s “failure to exercise its clear authority” under the Clean Air Act was “an abdication of its regulatory responsibility.”

The letter sent Thursday to Jackson, the new EPA Administrator, said: “The science is clear and the need for action at the federal level immediate. Issuance of the endangerment determination is a decisive step that can and should be taken now.”

“We look forward to working with you over the coming years on issues of critical importance to our states and the country as a whole,” the letter added.

The letter to Jackson, which was led by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, was signed by the attorneys general of 17 states: AZ, CA, CT, DE, IL, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, and WA. The letter also was signed by officials of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, the City of New York, and the City of Baltimore.

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