Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology [April 6, 2011]   [open pdf - 173KB]

"On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court rendered one of its most important environmental decisions of all time. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute 'air pollutants' as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, said the Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly denied a petition seeking CAA regulation of GHGs from new motor vehicles by saying the agency lacked authority over such emissions. This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions, mainly by EPA, in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA. Most of the listed actions trace directly or indirectly back to the decision-- EPA's 'endangerment finding' for GHG emissions from new motor vehicles, the agency's standards for GHG emissions from new motor vehicles, its interpretation of the phrase 'pollutants subject to regulation' (the CAA trigger for requiring BACT for such pollutants in 'prevention of significant deterioration' areas), guidance for determining BACT for GHG emissions, the 'tailoring rule' (limiting the stationary sources that initially will have to install BACT and obtain CAA Title V permits based on GHG emissions), and recently announced settlements of litigation seeking to compel EPA to promulgate new source performance standards (NSPSs) for GHG emissions from electric generating units (power plants) and petroleum refineries. A few agency actions were included solely because of their relevance to climate change and their post- Massachusetts occurrence--for example, EPA's responses to California's request for a waiver of CAA preemption allowing that state to set its own limits for GHG emissions from new motor vehicles, and EPA's monitoring rule for GHG emissions."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41103
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