Policy Integrity submitted a petition today urging the EPA to fulfill its obligation under Section 115 of the Clean Air Act to instruct all fifty states to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If EPA ignores or denies the petition, Policy Integrity can pursue appropriate legal action to force the agency to respond.
The legal threshold requiring EPA action has been met and surpassed; as both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and EPA have already acknowledged, U.S. emissions contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas concentrations, which will likely impact extreme weather events, food production, infectious disease, water scarcity, coastal erosion, and economic development across every continent.
EPA’s duty under Section 115 is to require states to revise their Clean Air Act implementation plans to control their dangerous greenhouse gas pollution by making reasonable progress toward abatement. EPA should also advise states on their options for implementation under Section 115, including flexible regulatory tools like markets.
Additionally, Title VI of the Clean Air Act creates a potentially mandatory obligation for comprehensive control of greenhouse gases. And as a third-best option, EPA can continue issuing and even broadening greenhouse gas standards under Section 111. However, Section 115 is best suited to controlling emissions and provides the strongest legal foundation for regulatory action.
We urge the President to follow up on his State of the Union pledge to address climate change. Section 115 provides a powerful legal tool to do so and to regulate pollution that negatively affects international public health and welfare.