EPA Report Finds Greenhouse Gases Pose Public Health Threat

April 16, 2009 07:00 PM
 

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding Friday that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat.

"This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Fortunately, it follows President Obama's call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,” says EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "This pollution problem has a solution – one that will create millions of green jobs and end our country's dependence on foreign oil.”

As the proposed endangerment finding states, "In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.”

In a statement, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman expressed concern over the EPA's finding on greenhouse gas emissions.

"The agency's announcement could lead to harmful consequences with the government overextending its arm into every facet of the economy, including the agriculture industry. If EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, U.S. agriculture would be hard hit," says Stallman. "Many agriculture facilities would be subject to permit requirements for structure construction or modification."

According to the EPA, the proposed endangerment finding is based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. "The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate."

The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. This proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, EPA would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input.

"Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy," according to the EPA press release..

You can read more information at: http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html.


For questions or comments, e-mail Kim Watson, editor Beef Today.
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