The EPA has another Bush-era bugaboo in its sights: the so-far-ignored U.S. Supreme Court requirement that the federal government make an official determination under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gases from motor vehicles are endangering the public health and welfare.
As we mentioned in the previous post, the attorneys general of 18 states sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday asking her to act quickly and decisively on the Supreme Court's ruling.
Jackson has not formally responded to the letter, but her office gave us this statement:
EPA is confident that people will be satisfied by how quickly and carefully the agency addresses this matter.
That goes way beyond the standard government response of "the agency will look into the matter."
Last fall, then-candidate Barack Obama's energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview with Bloomberg news that Obama, if elected president, would classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated. Grumet also said Obama would tell the EPA it may use the Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers.
Today's actions show that President Obama's administration, just 17 days old, is already making good on those promises. And the EPA's statement about the request from the attorneys general indicates more positive action is on the way.
Read this morning's post, EPA Begins Untangling Bush Policies, for more background on the Supreme Court ruling that was snubbed by the Bush administration and on the request from the 18 attorneys general.