Court Upholds Greenhouse Gas Rule . . . Congress Needs to Step Up?
In 1999, several groups of environmental activists sued the EPA to force the agency to regulate carbon dioxide from motor vehicles. Eventually the case made it to the Supreme Court; in April 2007, the Court ruled that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are pollutants and can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The Court ordered the EPA Administrator to determine whether these CO2 emissions were dangerous to human health and the environment and whether the scientific consensus on the effects of GHGs was settled.
In 2009, the EPA issued its decision, known as an endangerment finding, determining that carbon dioxide (a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas) is a pollutant—not because it has any direct human health impact, but because—according to some—it can lead to sea level rises, stressed water resources, increased size and quantity of wildfires, and other effects linked to global warming.
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