Posted December 7, 2009
As international leaders gather in Copenhagen this week for climate discussions, an "endangerment" finding by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could require businesses that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to make costly changes to reduce emissions--even if Congress doesn't approve pending climate change legislation.
This action poses a threat to every American family and business if it leads to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Such regulation would be intrusive, inefficient and excessively costly. It could chill job growth and delay business expansion. The Clean Air Act was meant to control traditional air pollution, not greenhouse gases that come from every vehicle, home, factory and farm in America. A fit-for-purpose climate law is a much preferred solution.
Further, there was no compelling deadline that forced EPA's hand on this decision. It is a decision that is clearly politically motivated to coincide with the start of the Copenhagen climate summit. EPA's finding is inadequate, unsupported by the record and fails to demonstrate a significant risk of harm to public health or welfare.
API members are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in technology to reduce them further. Between 2000 and 2008, U.S.-based oil and natural gas companies invested $58 billion in low-carbon energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, more than either the federal government or all other U.S.-based private industry combined.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.