Policy Documents

Policy Memorandum: Environmental Protection Agency Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The White House –
July 11, 2008

This “Policy Memorandum” released by the White House on July 11, 2008, refutes an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) produced by EPA staff in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which a 5-4 majority ruled that EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The Bush administration, despite being sympathetic to the idea of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, fiercely criticized the EPA staff proposal. President Bush's main point of contention was that the Clean Air Act was originally intended to address air pollution and their hazardous local and regional effects, not greenhouse gas emissions, which stretch the law so far beyond its original intent that it could grant the federal government an unprecedented expansion of regulatory authority that would put economic efficiency at great risk, while doing little to actually respond to climate change.

This document quotes the heads of EPA, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, and other federal agencies, all of whom agree regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act is not the right way to address climate change. Among the reasons given by these high-ranking government officials are:

  • The problem of "leakage," or increasing global greenhouse gas emissions by making it too costly for energy-intensive businesses to operate in the U.S. thereby encouraging them to relocate to countries where there is little to no greenhouse gas restrictions.
  • The Clean Air Act being written in such a way making it incompatible to be easily applied to greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in an even more complex framework of regulations to be created to do so.
  • The duplication of several newly passed laws while further driving up the barriers to trade.
  • The increase of the Clean Air Act's heavy-handedness by requiring slower and more cumbersome permitting processes for new construction projects.
  • The increase of the cost of energy, food, and transportation costs.

The second half of this document goes into greater detail about potential actions that could be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions pursuant of EPA's ANPR, many of which are aimed at industry, including freight regulations that could "put truckers out of business." The document also highlights the potential negative effects on many other sectors of the economy, including farming, railroads, construction, aviation, infrastructure, power production, and even families.