On April 17, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) endanger public health and welfare (the “endangerment finding”). In that finding, the EPA determined that (i) atmospheric concentrations of the six main GHGs, including carbon dioxide, threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations; and (ii) emissions of new automobiles contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of these GHGs. The endangerment finding follows the April 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the EPA must either determine whether GHG emissions may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or justify its decision not to make such a determination. If the endangerment finding is finalized, it would require the EPA to regulate GHG emissions from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. The EPA is accepting comments on the endangerment finding until June 23, 2009.
For further information, please see www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html