Top Official: 'The EPA Is Back On The Job'

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson i i

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson says the Obama administration is putting an increased emphasis on the public health effects of greenhouse gases. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson says the Obama administration is putting an increased emphasis on the public health effects of greenhouse gases.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The Environmental Protection Agency released a long-secret document last week that reveals the agency's conclusions on global warming while President Bush was in office. The December 2007 document says greenhouse gases are dangerous and need to be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

"The Bush administration never accepted the need to regulate greenhouse gases," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson tells Liane Hansen. "That's why the endangerment finding was never released."

The agency's decision to release that "endangerment finding" now highlights the stark differences between the EPA under Bush and the EPA under President Obama.

Jackson says the current administration is putting an increased emphasis on the public health effects of greenhouse gases because, under the Clean Air Act, any pollutant that endangers public health falls under the EPA's regulatory authority.

In a New York Times op-ed, Sens. John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts and Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, warned that if Congress does not pass climate change legislation, the EPA could use its authority to impose new regulations.

"Imposed regulations are likely to be tougher and they certainly will not include the job protections and investment incentives we are proposing," they wrote.

Jackson agrees that legislation is the preferred method to address such issues as helping industries make the transition to more energy-efficient operations and building a clean energy economy. But, she says, the regulations the EPA is drafting fall within the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Among those regulations are new fuel economy rules proposed last month by the EPA and the Department of Transportation to limit auto emissions.

"EPA is back on the job," Jackson says.

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