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The Environmental Agency is planning to double its budget to $21 billion and expand its workforce of 18,000 to 230,000 regulators over the next four years.
The Clean Air Act states that any stationary source that emits as little as 100 tons of pollutants per year must get permits from the EPA and state agencies. A typical restaurant or apartment house sends out 100 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Currently about 14,000 entities have to get permits. But by regulating CO2 through the Clean Air Act, the number of businesses requiring EPA permits will soar to more than 6 million.
This potential explosion of regulators all began with a Supreme Court decision in a landmark environmental case decided in April 2007. The court’s ruling was an historic turning point in the environment of fright over global warming. The environmentalists almost went gaga over the court ruling. In a 5-4 strange decision the court said that carbon dioxide—the air every human and animal exhales—is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and that the EPA had the power to regulate CO2 emissions from vehicles. The case, Massachusetts vs. EPA, was a defeat for the Bush Administration.
A key question in the case was: Does EPA have the discretion not to regulate those emissions?
The Court remanded the case to EPA, requiring the agency to review the contention that it had discretion in regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The Court found the current rationale for not regulating to be inadequate and required the agency to articulate a reasonable basis in order to avoid regulation.
During the Bush Administration, the EPA had argued that it had no authority to regulate so-called “tailpipe emissions” of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that supposedly contribute to global warming, because they are “non-point” emission sources. They are not fixed geographically, unlike coal-fired power plants that are “point” sources and closely regulated. Vehicles account for about 20 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, while power plants account for about 40 percent.
The case put three questions before the court:
Do states have the right to sue the EPA to challenge its decision?
Does the Clean Air Act give EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases?
Does EPA have the discretion not to regulate those emissions?
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