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EPA's decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is challenged

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it will file a petition with the agency, which will probably lead to a court battle.

February 13, 2010|By Jim Tankersley

Reporting from Washington — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced late Friday that it would challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle with the Obama administration over global warming.

The chamber said it was filing a petition with the agency challenging the EPA's process in determining that greenhouse gases endanger human health and are thus subject to Clean Air Act regulation. The challenge is likely to lead to a court battle.

Chamber officials said they support action in Congress and international treaty negotiations to reduce greenhouse gases. But they said the EPA overreached in acting on its own and produced a flawed finding that would lead to other poorly conceived regulations in the future.

An EPA spokeswoman said that although the agency had not seen the chamber's petition, the "EPA issued its endangerment finding as a result of a 2007 Supreme Court decision and after a thorough and transparent review of the soundest science available."

Steven J. Law, chief legal officer and general counsel of the chamber, said in a news release that the challenge would focus on "the inadequacies of the process that EPA followed in triggering Clean Air Act regulation, and not on scientific issues related to climate change."

Administration officials have defended the legality of the EPA's action but have repeatedly said that they also would prefer to limit greenhouse gases through Congress, though those efforts have stalled in the Senate.

Meanwhile, movements are underway in both the House and Senate to strip the EPA of the power to regulate greenhouse gases on its own.

jtankersley@latimes.com

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