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EPA submits first federal greenhouse gas regulation proposal to White House

[JURIST] The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] submitted a "Proposal for Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act" to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) [official website] of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) [official website], setting the stage for the first ever federal regulation of greenhouse gases. The proposal, which was submitted Friday and has not been made public, is expected to lead to a decision by President Barack Obama [official profile] to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act [text, PDF]. Submission of an agency rule to OIRA for review is typically the final step in the federal administrative rulemaking process, and can be an indication that a rule is nearing public announcement [NYT report]. Environmental interest and advocacy groups called the EPA proposal groundbreaking and historic [Washington Post report].

The regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act has been the subject of considerable controversy and litigation in recent years. Earlier this month, the EPA held a hearing [JURIST report] to reconsider California's request to regulate automobile greenhouse gases. The request had been denied by the EPA during the administration of former president George W. Bush. In July, a US House of Representatives report revealed that the Bush administration abandoned plans to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases on power plants and other stationary pollution sources after opposition from the oil industry [JURIST report]. In April 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had the authority [JURIST report] under the Clean Air Act to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases by automobiles.

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