EPA releases Bush-era endangerment finding

UPDATE: Cara has more here, including a link to the draft that does not require a subscription.

In Dec. 2007, EPA was ready to issue a proposed finding under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas pollution endangers public welfare. E&E News has now obtained a copy of the draft proposal (subscription required) 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 and likely to be finalized soon. 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, while the current administration 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, should EPA get so bold as to move in that direction.

Jason Burnett, who oversaw preparation of the 2007 draft, welcomed its release.

“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.”

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