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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Report Inhofe: EPA too powerful, could damage economy by EPA rejects gas rules
BY JIM MYERS
World Washington Bureau

BY DINA CAPPIELLO
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, dismissing the recommendations of its top experts, rejected regulating the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming Friday, saying it would cripple the U.S. economy. In a 588-page federal notice, the Environmental Protection Agency made no finding on whether global warming poses a threat to people’s health or welfare, reversing an earlier conclusion at the insistence of the White House and kicking any decision on a solution to the next president and Congress. The White House on Thursday rejected the EPA’s suggestion three weeks earlier that the 1970 Clean Air Act can be both workable and e ective for addressing global climate change. The EPA said Friday that law is “ill-suited” for dealing with global warming. “If our nation is truly serious about regulating greenhouse gases, the Clean Air Act is the wrong tool for the job,” EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson told reporters. At the just concluded G8 summit at Toyako, Japan, Bush and other world leaders called for a voluntary 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases worldwide by 2050 but o ered no specifics. In a setback for Bush, the Supreme Court ruled last year that the government had the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. Congress hasn’t found the will to do much about the problem either. Supporters of regulating greenhouse gases could get only 48 votes in the 100-member Senate last month. The House has held several hearings but no votes on any bill addressing it. In its voluminous document, the EPA laid options on how to reduce greenhouse gases from cars, ships, trains, power plants, factories and refineries. On Friday, Johnson called the proposals drafted by his sta as “putting a square peg into a round hole” and he said moving forward would be irresponsible. “One point is clear: The potential regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of the Clean Air Act could result in unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound e ect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land,” Johnson wrote in the document’s preface Friday. Attorneys general from several states called the administration’s findings inadequate. “While we appreciate the e ort that EPA sta made in putting together today’s documents, the time has long passed for open-ended pondering — what we need now is action,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, which initiated the Supreme Court case. The EPA said it had encountered resistance from the Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Transportation departments, as well as the White House, that made it “impossible” to respond in a timely fashion to the Supreme Court decision. Friday’s action caps months of often tense negotiations between EPA scientists and the White House over how to address global warming under the major federal air pollution law. It ended with the White House and other agencies citing “extraordinary circumstances” and refusing to review the draft forwarded in June by EPA scientists. Rep. Edward Markey, chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming, called the administration’s findings “the bureaucratic equivalent of saying that the dog ate your homework.” “The White House has taken an earnest attempt by their own climate experts to respond to the Supreme Court’s mandate to address global warming pollution and turned it into a Frankenstein’s monster,” said Markey, D-Mass.

WASHINGTON — While others criticized the Bush administration’s inaction on greenhouse gases, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe warned Friday that it has put in place a scenario that will bankrupt the U.S. economy. A key player in the yearslong debate over climate change, the Oklahoma Republican agreed that using the Clean Air Act to put new regulations in place would be an unprecedented expansion of the Environmental

Protection Agency’s authority that would impact every household. “Obviously the concept of regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act is flawed and the act must be amended by Congress,” Inhofe said. “Today’s notice should concern all lawmakers; no one should want the EPA to exercise the kind of power and authority that the career sta at EPA contemplates.” Last month, he said, the Senate rejected a “cap-andtrade” proposal that would allow companies to buy or

sell allowances depending on their level of pollution. “It is ironic that the EPA has proposed an even more economically destructive scheme this close to that bill’s demise,” Inhofe said. “If Congress does not act, then the resulting regulations could be the largest regulatory intrusion into Americans’ personal lives, a nightmare scenario. “Big Brother is alive and well in the career ranks at the EPA.” Inhofe’s strong comments came after the administration’s decision that it would

not regulate greenhouse gases despite a Supreme Court ruling that the government was authorized to do so under the Clean Air Act. What specifically drew Inhofe’s concern was the EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting public input. Key Democrats also criticized the administration but for not moving forward with a plan. “The Bush administration decision today to e ectively reject regulation of global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act creates a clear

and present danger to the American people,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said. “Despite the Supreme Court’s finding that EPA was ducking its responsibility under the law to control global warming emissions, the Bush administration continues to block all action.” Boxer is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Inhofe serves as that panel’s top Republican.
Jim Myers (202) 484-1424
jim.myers@tulsaworld.com

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