EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has issued a response to a request by eight U.S. Senators about the Agency’s plans for 2010. The letter addresses the time frame for addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the impact of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval of EPA’s endangerment finding on the light-duty vehicle standard and the historic agreement among states, automakers, the federal government, and other stakeholders. She goes on to say that a vote to vitiate (make legally defective or invalid) the greenhouse-gas endangerment finding would be viewed as a vote to reject the scientific work of the thirteen U.S. government departments that contribute to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She also says that this would be viewed by many as a vote to move the United States to a position behind that of China on the issue of climate change, and more in line with the position of Saudi Arabia.
This is evidently Administrator Jackson’s own view as she states the following, “After the EPA staff conducted a comprehensive survey of the soundest available science and carefully reviewed hundreds of thousands of public comments, I determined last December that greenhouse-gas emissions do endanger Americans’ health and welfare.” She assures the Senators that she will ensure that no stationary source will be required to get a Clean Air Act permit to cover its greenhouse gas emissions in calendar year 2010. Permit requirements will be phased in beginning in calendar year 2011. The largest stationary sources will be required to apply for permits in 2011 with the smallest sources not being subject to permitting until 2016 at the soonest. Whether a phasing in of permitting over the next six years will make this any more palatable to affected businesses remains to be seen. The full text of Ms. Jackson’s letter can be found on the EPA website along with her recent statement at a legislative hearing on EPA’s 2011 Budget Proposal