Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | February 26, 2009

Environmental lawyer Sanders says EPA to look again at whether greenhouse gases should be regulated under PSD program.

On February 17, 2009, the U.S. EPA granted a petition for reconsideration of a Bush Administration memo regarding the scope of the Clean Air Act. The interpretive memorandum, which was published by former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson on December 18, 2008, addresses when the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) program applies to carbon dioxide, a chief greenhouse gas.  The Bush Administration flatly refused to regulate greenhouse gases under the PSD program, going so far as deny a link between human activities and global warming. 

Concerns were soon raised about the memo’s potential impact on American communities and neighborhoods. The Sierra Club and other parties in early January 2009 petitioned EPA to reconsider the Johnson memorandum.

Lisa Jackson, pledge to put science back into play at U.S. EPA

Lisa Jackson, pledges to put science back into play at U.S. EPA

Under the Obama Administration, EPA will vigorously review the Johnson memo to ensure that it is consistent with EPA’s new climate change strategy and interpretation of the Clean Air Act.




While conducting this review, EPA will abide by the three core principles outlined by Administrator Jackson: overwhelming transparency, adherence to the rule of law, and science-based policies and regulations.  To facilitate a transparent, impartial and fair review, EPA will seek comment from the general public on this memo and its potential impact on American communities.


This public comment period is consistent with the recommendations of the Environmental Appeals Board and allows for a measured, inclusive approach to reviewing this memo. The EAB last year held that EPA had not adequately articulated why its interpretation of the PSD program did not apply to carbon dioxide.

 Lisa Jackson’s response letter to the Sierra Club:


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