EPA Declines to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

Automakers and oil companies will not be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, the U.S. EPA announced yesterday. In 1999, three environmental organizations petitioned the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, saying the gases contribute to climate change, which in turn causes public health threats including infectious diseases, water-quality problems, and skin cancer. The agency declined the petition yesterday, noting that Congress has not yet established a policy for addressing global warming nor authorized the EPA to do so. Air-quality officials in California said they would sue the EPA over the decision, because it threatens the state’s efforts to control greenhouse gases by regulating tailpipe emissions. Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and North Carolina are also considering laws or regulations that would require reductions in greenhouse emissions.