WASHINGTON, July 29, 2010 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today rejected claims, issued by the fossil fuel industry and other opponents of action on climate change, that challenged the scientific basis for EPA’s plans to limit greenhouse gas pollution.
In denying these petitions, the agency reaffirmed its “endangerment finding”, issued in December of 2009, which concluded that airborne pollution resulting largely from the burning of fossil fuels endangers the health and welfare of the American people. The scientific finding compels EPA to regulate these pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
“It’s no secret that the fossil fuel industry and others with a financial stake in the status quo have been engaged in a well-funded, coordinated campaign to forestall any action to reduce fossil fuel use and its related pollution. EPA’s announcement today is the strongest response yet by our government to this shameless campaign to mislead the public and sow doubt where none exists,” said Keya Chatterjee, Director of WWF’s Climate Change Program. “The science is sound, it is overwhelming and it is unequivocal: greenhouse gas pollution and the climate change it causes threaten the health and welfare of our children and all Americans and our leaders have a responsibility to protect the public.”
Chatterjee applauded EPA for reaffirming the science and noted EPA’s legal obligation to limit greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuels. She also lamented that Congress has not yet passed legislation that would address the issue and further reiterated the importance of protecting EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act.
“In just the past few months, we have seen a flurry of scientific reports reaffirming not only the reality, but the severity of climate change,” said Chatterjee. “And yet, some in Congress continue to aid and abet the fossil fuel industry’s attempts to block action. In the Senate, Republican obstructionists have blocked passage of a climate and clean energy bill, while fossil fuel allies in both houses of Congress are continuing their quest to prevent EPA from carrying out its legal obligations under the Clean Air Act.
“The urgency of climate change isn’t going away so we need Congress to act and we need the EPA to act. We need them both to acknowledge that climate change is endangering public health and to take appropriate action accordingly,” Chatterjee said.