LOS ANGELES (CN) – California Attorney General Edmund Brown has threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for continuing to “wantonly ignore its duty” to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from planes, ships and industrial equipment, unless the agency steps up its regulation of those industries.
Brown claims the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by failing to explicitly find that the industries cause pollution that harms the public and by failing to regulate that pollution. “Ships, aircraft, and industrial equipment burn huge quantities of fossil fuel and cause massive greenhouse gas pollution, yet President Bush stalls with one bureaucratic dodge after another,” Brown said in an announcement. These industries release the pollution equivalent of 270 million cars, he says.
Brown petitioned the government for industry regulations in October 2007, December 2007, and again in January 2008. He says he will file his Clean Air Act lawsuit if the Bush administration refuses to respond to the January petition. The act gives the EPA 180 days to create regulations in response to petitions.
Instead of issuing regulations, the EPA responded to California’s petitions by issuing an “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” on July 11. According to Brown’s office, the proposal “contains hundreds of page of discussion and facts but never once states that greenhouse gasses endanger public health or welfare – the legal foundation for fashioning regulations.”
“If President Bush was serious about America’s dangerous and growing foreign oil dependency,” Brown said, “he would forthwith direct EPA to do its job and regulate greenhouse gases.”
Oregon, New York City, Connecticut, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols and Earthjustice Managing Attorney Martin Wagner joined Brown in threatening to sue the EPA.
The United Nations International Maritime Organization has the authority to regulate pollution from ships, but has not announced plans to draft regulations, beyond a plan to inventory greenhouse gasses by 2009. Brown’s office said the 90,000-vessel worldwide fleet of large, oceangoing ships creates about 3 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses.
Another 3 percent of the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions come from airplane pollution. The Federal Aviation Administration says U.S. plane emissions will increase by 60 percent by 2025. On top of that, plane pollution is more serious than surface emissions from cars because planes emit carbon dioxide at high altitudes. There are currently no international regulations on aviation emissions, according to Brown’s office.