Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Endangered(ment) Species

Posted by Danny Morris on April 17, 2009

It’s a nice day here in our nation’s capital (one of the few over the past few months), which is making many of us here feel chipper, sunny, and generally at peace with the world. We shouldn’t feel that way though, because we are in DANGER! Well, sort of. The WaPo is reporting that sometime this afternoon the EPA will official announce its findings that carbon dioxide emissions pose a danger to the public’s health and welfare. The endangerment finding, as some in the Beltway bubble call it, is a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Massachusetts vs. EPA two years ago, where it found that the EPA can regulate emissions of GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act.

There have been rumors that this was going to drop right around Earth Day, which could ensure a lot of media coverage and much green revelry. Now that it’s official (it needed approval from the OMB), consider it one more spice in the fiery cauldron that is the U.S. response to climate change. If Congress can’t get its act together and pass some kind of legislation passed (Henry Waxman wants his bill through committee by Memorial Day), then the EPA will step up to the plate and regulate, which will be industry’s worst nightmare come true. Truth be told, not many people want EPA to regulate on its own, including EPA head Lisa Jackson. As she says in the article:

The best solution, and I believe this in my heart, is to work with Congress to form and pass comprehensive legislation to deal with climate change. We hope to avert a regulatory thicket where governments and businesses spend an inordinate amount of time fighting. We are not looking for a doomsday solution.

This is a big trump card for the Obama Administration and those in Congress who want to see something passed this year. The way things are going these days, doomsday solutions don’t seem all that unlikely. Stay tuned…

One Response to “Endangered(ment) Species”

  1. Carlos Ferreira said

    So the idea is “either get to an agreement about this, or else!”. That should be fun! Between a rock and a hard place.

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