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EPA moving toward regulation of greenhouse gases

Agency will decide if emissions blamed for global warming are a danger to human health and welfare.

February 18, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson says the agency is moving toward regulating the gases blamed for global warming.

In an interview on Tuesday with the Associated Press, Jackson said the agency would decide whether greenhouse gases are a danger to human health and welfare, the legal trigger for regulation under federal law.

Jackson said the EPA owes the American people an opinion. "We are going to be making a fairly significant finding about what these gases mean for public health and the welfare of our country," Jackson said.

Recent EPA decisions have hinted that the agency was leaning toward using the Clean Air Act to regulate the gases, a step the Bush administration refused to take despite prodding from the Supreme Court.

Jackson took a different position Tuesday during one of her first interviews since winning Senate confirmation Jan. 23.

"It is clear that the Clean Air Act has a mechanism in it for other pollutants to be addressed," she said.

"If EPA is going to talk and speak in this game, the first thing it should speak about is whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare," she said. "It is a very fundamental question."

Jackson, a Princeton University-educated chemical engineer, headed the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection from 2006 until 2008.

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