Re: [asa] EPA: Greenhouse gases endanger human health

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 13:45:35 EST

This is the result of the Supreme Court ruling Massachusetts v. EPA. The
Supreme Court ordered the EPA to make a ruling on GHGs as pollutants under
the Clean Air Act. This produced another e-mail and FOIA scandal in 2008.
In Dec. 2007, the Bush Administration EPA made the court-ordered
determination concluding greenhouse gas pollution endangers public welfare
and the e-mail from the EPA was literally ignored by the WH. They left it

> The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection
> Agency<>’s
> conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled,
> telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document
> would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week.
> ...
> Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully
> put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original
> analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough
> regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2
> trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years. The officials spoke on
> condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the
> matter.
> ...
> Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, refused to comment on discussions
> between the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency. Asked about
> changes in the original report, Mr. Fratto said, “It’s the E.P.A. that
> determines what analysis it wants to make available” in its documents.

In October 2009, E&E News obtained a copy of the draft proposal through a
FOIA request (the Bush Administration had denied an earlier request). The
draft strongly endorsed the scientific consensus on global warming, stating
that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” most of it is “very
likely due” to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and that it will
cause a variety of ill effects in the U.S. and globally. Much of the
language of the draft appears in the Obama Administration’s proposed
endangerment finding<>,
issued in April to be finalized soon per your news story. The Bush draft
differs in only one important respect from the Obama Administration’s
proposal. The Bush EPA was only willing to say that greenhouse gas emissions
endanger public welfare. The Obama EPA on the other hand has proposed to
find that public health is also endangered. That’s an important difference,
not for tailpipe emission controls, but for ambient air quality regulation.

Jason Burnett, who oversaw preparation of the 2007 draft, welcomed its
release, contradicting Tony Fratto's comments above that it was the EPA and
not the WH who determined what analysis was available. Legal Planet quoted
him as follows:

> “Generally, it’s useful to show,” Burnett said. “This is not a partisan
> matter. It’s not that the science of climate change depends on the
> administration in power. Under the Bush administration, it was clearly the
> case that greenhouse gases endanger the public, and during this
> administration, it’s also clearly the case. And it’s also clearly the case
> going forward.”

Here's the ignored e-mail.

This is the finding the Bush WH ignored:

6 The Administrator proposes to find that the air pollution of elevated
levels of greenhouse gas

7 (GHG) concentrations may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public
welfare. The

8 Administrator is defining the air pollution to be the elevated
concentrations of the mix of six

9 GHGs: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O),
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),

10 perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). The Administrator
further proposes to

11 find under section 202(a) that CO2 emissions from new motor vehicles
contribute to this air

12 pollution, and that under section 211(c)(1) CO2 emissions from the
combustion of fuels used by

13 motor vehicles, nonroad vehicles, and nonroad engines contribute to this
air pollution. As

14 discussed further below, the Administrator is considering whether
emissions of CH4, N2O, and

15 HFCs under sections 202(a) and 211(c)(1) do or do not contribute to this
air pollution, and

16 intends to make a determination on this issue in the final rule.


18 This section is organized in the following manner. Section III.A
discusses the legal framework

19 for the endangerment and “cause or contribute” analyses. Section III.B
sets forth the definition

20 of the “air pollution” that causes endangerment, and provides the
evidence and rationale for

21 EPA’s positive endangerment finding. Finally, Section III.C sets forth
the Administrator’s

22 proposal regarding whether emissions of “air pollutants” from the
relevant mobile sources under

23 sections 202 and 211 of the CAA “cause or contribute” to this air

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Mon Dec 7 13:45:51 2009

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