The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has joined with several oil and gas and mining companies in filing a Petition for Review in the D.C. federal court under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. Â§7607 to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rules issued this month regarding greenhouse gases. 74 Fed. Reg. 66,496 et seq. (Dec. 15, 2009)
On December 7, 2009, the EPA Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:
- Endangerment Finding: The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)–in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.
- Cause or Contribute Finding: The Administrator finds that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.
These findings do not themselves impose any requirements on factory farms or other entities.Â These "endangerment finding rules", however, are a prerequisite to finalizing the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles, which were jointly proposed by EPA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration on September 15, 2009.Â
The NCBA is concerned EPA will soon issue emission standards for cattle feedlots or factory farms and is thus challenging the EPA’s findings that these so-called greenhouse gases contribute to global warming or climate change or threaten the public health and welfare. Â Â
On April 2, 2007, in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), the U.S. Supreme Court found that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act.Â The Court held that the EPA must determine whether or not emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision. Â In making these decisions, the EPA is required to follow the Clean Air Act.Â The Supreme Court decision resulted from a petition for rulemaking filed by more than a dozen environmental, renewable energy, and other organizations.
On April 17, 2009, the EPA Administrator signed proposed endangerment and cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.Â EPA held a 60-day public comment period, which ended June 23, 2009, and received over 380,000 public comments.Â These included both written comments as well as testimony at two public hearings in Arlington, Virginia and Seattle, Washington.Â EPA said that it carefully reviewed, considered, and incorporated public comments and has now issued these final Findings which pave the way for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.Â For more information…..