EPA Rules Carbon Pollution a Public Hazard

As President Obama prepares to commit the U.S. to carbon pollution cuts at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, a crucial Environmental Protection Agency ruling stresses the stakes.

The EPA responded to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gases are air pollutants as defined by the Clean Air Act, ruling that heat-trapping gases from motor vehicles are harmful to humans and the environment, and setting the stage for possible federal regulation of carbon pollution.

"These long-overdue findings cement 2009's place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "This continues our work towards clean energy reform that will cut GHGs and reduce the dependence on foreign oil that threatens our national security and our economy."

"This action clears the way for serious measures to reduce the pollution that is accelerating global warming, and the timing couldn't be better," said National Wildlife Federation Global Warming Policy Director Joe Mendelson, who served as co-counsel throughout the landmark case (Massachusetts v. EPA) that resulted in the original decision. "The Obama administration's action today enforces the Clean Air Act and strengthens the President's hand for the upcoming talks to forge a global deal to fight climate change."

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