U.S. Senate Committee Proposes Ways to Regulate CO2 Under Clean Air Act


Further illustrating that climate change regulation will likely come in some form at the federal level, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released a majority staff report this month outlining ways for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

The report states that, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the EPA is now free to enact regulations addressing GHG emissions. Specifically, the report suggests that the EPA take the following actions:

  • Grant the California waiver to allow California and other states the authority to regulate GHG emissions from motor vehicles (CAA section 209);
  • Issue national GHG emissions standards for vehicles (CAA section 202(a)(1));
  • Lower the carbon content of fuels (CAA section 211); and
  • Set performance-based GHG emissions standards for new and existing stationary sources (CAA section 111).

As recently reported, it remains to be seen whether Congress will enact a federal cap-and-trade policy. However, it appears that the Obama administration, with Congress’s support,  will take some sort of steps to reduce CO2.