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 Home > News & Policies > July 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 11, 2008

Statement by the Press Secretary

Since 2001, the United States has had the second best performance of all industrialized nations, reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent -- through a combination of increased efficiency, improved technologies, and conservation. The President has committed the U. S. to further reductions, working in partnership with other major economies in a way that ensures sustained economic growth and actual global emissions reductions.

In April 2008, the President warned that the Clean Air Act and other existing statutes were the wrong way to address climate change, as they were designed to deal with local and regional pollutants, not global greenhouse gases. At the same time, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell said that regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act would result in "a glorious mess."

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that suggests how the Clean Air Act might be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in our economy. This EPA staff draft confirms that the President and Chairman Dingell were right. EPA Administrator Johnson's own statement makes clear he agrees.

As the comments from other Cabinet Secretaries and administration officials make clear, the onerous command-and-control regulation contemplated in the EPA staff draft would impose crippling costs on the economy in the form of a massive hidden tax, without even ensuring that the intended overall emissions reductions occur.

It's important to make the public aware of the damage this approach would impose on our economy, so we've asked the EPA to make available for comment the draft it sent to OMB for interagency review, along with the comments from other agencies and offices. We not only invite comment from the American people, but encourage it. During that period, Congress should consider the consequences of allowing unelected officials to make such fundamental decisions affecting our economy.

For example, stretching the Clean Air Act beyond its original purpose could override the fuel economy standards Congress recently adopted. It would also give EPA unprecedented power affecting anyone who uses or produces energy -- from stores and manufacturing facilities to power plants, farmers, even schools, hospitals and apartment buildings. The EPA would function like a local planning and zoning board, with potentially devastating effects on our economy. The Administration is confident that when Congress has made an honest assessment of the costs, benefits and feasibility of this approach, it will agree that the law must be changed to prevent regulation of greenhouse gases under laws written for different purposes.

As the President has explained, there's a right way and a wrong way to deal with climate change. The wrong way is duplicating mandates or demanding sudden and drastic emissions cuts that have no chance of being realized and every chance of hurting our economy. The wrong way is to sharply increase gasoline prices, home heating bills and the cost of energy for American businesses, and to unilaterally impose regulatory costs that put those businesses at a disadvantage with their competitors abroad, an approach that would drive American jobs overseas and increase emissions there.

The right way, as the President has proposed, is to invest in new technologies, set realistic goals, expand emission-free nuclear power, clean coal and renewable power, and to ensure that U.S. actions are taken in concert with all major economies as was agreed to by the G-8.

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