Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | February 18, 2009

Environmental lawyer Sanders says EPA to revisit the issue of whether the PSD program should regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Never let science or learned reasoning get in the way of a decision.

Never let science or learned reasoning get in the way of a decision.

U.S. EPA granted a petition for reconsideration of an EPA memo stating that carbon dioxide was not regulated under the PSD provisions of the Clean Air Act. The memo, signed by then-EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson in December 2008, addresses whether the PSD program applies to carbon dioxide, a chief greenhouse gas. Several major news sources reported that EPA’s interpretational memo was allegedly written by a White House staffer with close ties to the American Petroleum Institute at the direction of Office of the former Vice President.





The Sierra Club and other parties in early January petitioned EPA to reconsider the Johnson memorandum.  With Johnson gone, EPA will now review the memo to ensure that it is consistent with President Obama Administration’s climate change strategy and interpretation of the Clean Air Act.  In sharp contrast to the former Bush Administration, EPA will follow three core principles outlined by the new EPA Administrator: overwhelming transparency, adherence to the rule of law, and science-based policies and regulations.  


With the Bush Administration gone from power, U.S. EPA will now seek comment from the general public on this memo and its potential impact on life in America.  According to EPA, a new public comment period is consistent with the recommendations of the Environmental Appeals Board (“EAB”) and allows for a measured, reasoned, inclusive approach to reviewing this memo. The EAB last year ruled that Bush’s EPA failed to explain why the PSD program did not apply to carbon dioxide emissions.


The action is the latest in a series of steps intended to right the agency’s course of conduct and ensure that EPA policies and procedures are consistent with EPA’s overall mission to protect human health and the environment.


EPA’s decision to revist the question of whether carbon dioxide should be regulated under the PSD program is  a refreshing breath of fresh air in stark contrast to the most inept U.S. presidential administration on record, the George W. Bush Administration. 

EPA’s response letter to the Sierra Club:


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