Clean Air Issues in the 113th Congress: An Overview [October 21, 2014]   [open pdf - 417KB]

"As the 113th Congress has considered air quality issues, oversight of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory actions has been the main focus. Of particular interest has been EPA's Clean Air Act regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Reducing GHG emissions to address climate change is a major goal of President Obama, but Congress has been less enthusiastic about it. In the absence of congressional action, the President has directed EPA to promulgate GHG standards using existing authority under the Clean Air Act. This authority has been upheld on at least three occasions by the Supreme Court, but it remains controversial in Congress. EPA's most recent GHG actions have involved power plants. On June 2, 2014, the agency proposed GHG emission standards for existing fossil-fueled (coal, oil, and natural gas) power plants. These plants are the source of one-third of the nation's GHG emissions, so it is difficult to envision a regulatory scheme that reduces the nation's GHG emissions without addressing their contribution. At the same time, affordable and reliable electric power is central to the nation's economy and to the health and well-being of the population."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42895
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