In an interview with Politico.com about her damn-the-critics approach to greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said,
“The Clean Air Act is a tool. It’s not the optimal tool. But it can be used. And, in fact, I’m legally obligated now to use it. And so we’ve laid a lot of groundwork on that and we’ll continue.” [Emphasis added]
But EPA is not, in fact, legally obligated to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act.
In its March 2007 decision Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled only that the EPA may — not that it had to — regulate GHGs. And the Bush administration subsequently declined to regulate GHGs.
It wasn’t until December 2009 that the Obama EPA got around to declaring greenhouse gases to be a threat to the public welfare (the so-called “endangerment” finding), an optional pronouncement that enabled the EPA to move toward regulating greenhouse gases.
But just as the EPA opted to make the endangerment finding, it could opt to reverse it, thereby relieving the agency of any obligation to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act.
Lisa Jackson knows full well that the EPA does not have to regulate GHGs, yet she plays to the media like her hands are tied to following an economically-suicidal and environmentally-futile course.