On November 6, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) sent its final proposal on whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to human health and welfare to the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review. 

The endangerment finding was prompted by a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that ordered the EPA to determine whether greenhouse gases constituted a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The EPA issued its draft finding on April 17, 2009, which concluded that emissions pose a threat to the public’s health and welfare (see April 17, 2009 edition of the WER). 

The EPA did not release a copy of its final finding.  However, if it follows the agency’s earlier assessment and is approved by the OMB, the endangerment finding would allow the EPA to issue rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions, even if Congress does not pass legislation.

OMB has up to 90 days to review the proposal, but it is expected that the finding will be issued within the next few weeks before the Copenhagen climate summit begins on December 7, 2009.

Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html