Businesses Brace for Costly New Rules as EPA Declares Warming Gases a Threat
The Obama administration declared Friday that carbon dioxide and five other industrial emissions threaten the planet. The landmark decision lays the groundwork for federal efforts to cap carbon emissions — at a potential cost of billions of dollars to businesses and government.
The Environmental Protection Agency finding that the emissions endanger “the health and welfare of current and future generations” is “the first formal recognition by the U.S. government of the threats posed by climate change,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wrote in a memo to her staff.
The finding could touch every corner of Americans’ lives, from the types of cars they drive to the homes they build. Along with carbon dioxide, the EPA named methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride as deleterious to the environment. Even if the agency doesn’t use its powers under the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse gases, Friday’s action improves the chances that Congress will move to create a more flexible mechanism to do so.
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