little green footballs

EPA Head Flips, Flops

Tue, May 12, 2009 at 2:48:03 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency seems to be backtracking on recent statements in favor of regulating CO2 emissions, after a document warning of economic damage was leaked: EPA Chief: CO2 Danger Finding May Not ‘Mean Regulation’.

WASHINGTON — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday a finding that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are a public health danger won’t necessarily lead to government regulation of emissions, an apparent about-face for the Obama administration.

The comments follow revelations of an administration document warning the EPA of potentially economically harmful consequences from an agency finding last month that proposes declaring greenhouse gases are a danger to the public. The document represents comments from various federal agencies, prepared by the Office of Management and Budget for EPA rulemaking.

An OMB spokesman said the document, however, doesn’t represent administration policy. Statements in the document, however, are at odds with the EPA’s reasoning for the “endangerment” proposal.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has previously said such a decision “will indeed trigger the beginning of regulation of CO2,” echoing similar remarks by White House climate czar Carol Browner. But speaking before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Ms. Jackson said Tuesday an endangerment finding “does not mean regulation.”

An EPA spokeswoman wasn’t immediately able to explain the conflicting comments.