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Comparative Analysis of Climate Change Bills in the U.S. Senate

July 2009

Citation: ELR 10601

Author: Kenneth R. Richards and Stephanie Hayes Richards

The U.S. current financial conditions notwithstanding, climate change remains at the forefront of our national policy agenda. The question remains, however, whether the U.S. Congress will take decisive action on the issue before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues regulations under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

On February 17, 2009, EPA began its reconsideration of whether carbon dioxide (CO2) should be regulated as a criteria pollutant under the CAA. On April 17, EPA issued a proposed endangerment finding for greenhouse gases (GHGs) and will begin a period of public comment before beginning the regulation process.

As an alternative, President Barack Obama has asked the 111th Congress to send him cap-and-trade legislation that limits carbon emissions. On March 31, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) issued a discussion draft of a comprehensive climate change and energy bill.

Kenneth R. Richards is Associate Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Affiliated Associate Professor, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University. Stephanie Hayes Richards is managing principal of Bloomington Energy and Environmental Intelligence, LLC.

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