WASHINGTON (CN) – Greenhouse gas threatens public health, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday, clearing the way for federal regulation of the pollutants. “These long-overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
The EPA said the gasses threaten American lives through their drive of climate change, citing heat waves and increased ground-level ozone concentrations, which are tied to asthma.
The announcement comes as the Copenhagen climate summit begins, where word leaders are planning how to move forward in forging binding emissions cap agreements.
Many perceive the move to be a way of giving leverage to the Obama administration as is pushes climate change legislation through Congress.
The findings are necessary to move forward on new emissions standards as early as May for cars, which are responsible for 23 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gasses. The EPA plans to put in place new controls on six greenhouse gasses: – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
Other polluters, like oil refineries, are also expected to fall under increased regulation.
The House has already passed a climate bill requiring an 83 percent drop in greenhouse gasses from 2005 levels by 2050, and the Senate is now considering a similar one.
The EPA findings are the response of a 2007 Supreme Court decision that the emissions can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.