Climate Change: Potential Regulation of Stationary Greenhouse Gas Sources Under the Clean Air Act [May 14, 2009] [open pdf - 333KB]
"In the 111th Congress, both the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction are expected to give climate change legislation high priority. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has already held hearings on draft legislation, and expects to hold markup before Memorial Day. The schedule for Senate action is less certain, but presumably it will follow House consideration. With the inauguration of President Obama, there is a proponent of greenhouse gas (GHG) legislation in the White House, as well, markedly increasing the probability for enacting some sort of legislation to reduce GHG emissions. The President has said that a new energy, environment, and climate policy will be 'a leading priority of my presidency, and a defining test of our time.' Although new legislation to address greenhouse gases is a leading priority of the President and many members of Congress, the ability to limit these emissions already exists under various Clean Air Act (CAA) authorities that Congress has enacted, a point underlined by the Supreme Court in an April 2007 decision (discussed below). Indeed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already begun the process that could lead to greenhouse gas regulations for mobile sources in response to court decisions. […] This report discusses three major paths and two alternate paths of statutory authorities that have been identified by EPA and others as possible avenues the agency might take in addressing greenhouse gas emissions under existing CAA provisions. After discussing the approaches, we identify categories of control options EPA could consider, including an EPA-coordinated cap-and-trade program. Then we discuss the administrative difficulties in using the Clean Air Act for greenhouse gas control, particularly New Source Review and Title V permitting requirements. Finally, we conclude by putting the issue into the context of previous environmental challenges the CAA has faced."
CRS Report for Congress, R40585
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/