NAM’s Statement on EPA’s Proposed Finding of Endangerment


Clean Air Law Was Designed To Focus On Local Pollutants, Not GHG Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2009 — The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to avoid an “endangerment finding” that would trigger regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and pre-empt congressional debate on an issue that would impact all sectors of the struggling economy.

EPA proposed such a finding today in response to the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that characterized carbon as a “pollutant” under the CAA, and remanded to EPA the issue of whether or not carbon emissions constitute an “endangerment.” Last year the EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) inviting comments on the legal, operational and environmental challenges that would be posed by regulation of GHG emissions under the CAA. Today’s action constitutes the next step toward proposal of EPA rules under the CAA to regulate GHG emissions.

The NAM warned that using outdated programs under the CAA as a tool for regulating GHG emissions will further burden an ailing economy while doing little or nothing to improve the environment. Between 2000 and the first quarter of 2008, as many as 3.7 million jobs were lost in the U.S. in large part because of high energy prices. “This proposal will cost jobs. It is the worst possible time to be proposing rules that will drive up the cost of energy to no valid purpose,” said NAM President John Engler.

“Triggering the various permitting programs under the CAA through an endangerment finding will add costly delays to manufacturers seeking to expand operations or upgrade their manufacturing processes in a manner that conserves energy,” Engler said. “An endangerment finding would not only undermine recovery, but could also prevent the most environmentally sophisticated technologies from being incorporated into a manufacturer’s operation. The clean air laws were designed to focus on local pollutants. GHG emissions, however, are global in nature and require a new framework.

“The NAM looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and President Obama’s Administration to discuss a modern and comprehensive climate policy that will achieve environmental objectives without inflicting harm on an economy attempting to recover and grow again,” concluded Engler.

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