The FINANCIAL -- Steven J. Law, chief legal officer and general counsel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on March 15 issued the following statement on the Chamber’s petition asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the endangerment finding that triggers Clean Air Act regulation of greenhouse gases.
“The Chamber believes that the right way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere is through bipartisan legislation and comprehensive international agreement. The wrong way is through the EPA’s endangerment finding, which triggers Clean Air Act regulation.
“Today, the Chamber petitioned the EPA to reconsider its endangerment finding in light of new information that became available only after the close of the period for public comment. The Chamber has also asked the EPA to stay the endangerment finding until the Agency has an opportunity to act on the Chamber’s petition for reconsideration. The Chamber’s petition focuses exclusively on admissions made by the EPA and also by the Department of Transportation, and not on scientific issues related to climate change or endangerment.
“The Chamber has long warned that regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act would be bad for jobs and local economies. Last October, four months after the deadline for the public to submit comments on the endangerment finding, the Agency formally acknowledged the ‘absurdity’ of regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
“According to the EPA, regulating greenhouse gases under the Act would subject an additional 6 million small facilities – including hospitals, small farms, restaurants, hotels and office buildings – to an onerous and costly permitting process. The EPA has admitted that such an unprecedented regulatory expansion would ‘paralyze’ and ‘overwhelm’ permitting authorities, leaving businesses waiting months or even years to get the permits they need to keep operating. This admission by the EPA undermines the basis for the endangerment finding, and justifies reopening the process.
“We continue to call for Congress to address climate change policy through the legislative process, rather than having the government misapply environmental statutes like the Clean Air Act or Endangered Species Act that were not created to regulate greenhouse gases.”