Even with the failure of the United States Congress to pass a climate bill earlier this year, the federal government will still be able to control the country’s contributions to climate change. Beginning on January 2nd, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin regulating the carbon emissions of companies operating in the U.S.
The new authority of the EPA is the result of both a Supreme Court ruling several years ago granting the agency the authority to regulate emissions, as well as the President’s insistence that the agency step in where Congress failed. The Supreme Court ruling found that carbon produced by the burning of fossil fuels was indeed and environmental pollutant, and therefore the regulation of carbon falls within the jurisdiction of the EPA.
President Obama left for a 10-day vacation yesterday, and since Congress will not reconvene again during this session, he knew that the chances of passing a climate bill would be dead for at least the next two years. Outside environmental groups have been pressuring the President to act on his campaign promise from 2008 to seriously tackle climate change.
Business critics claim that the new regulations will force them to spend much more in order to comply with the new rules, and that this increased spending will add to the current unemployment crisis in America. However, proponents of the new measures say that jobs will actually be created as a result, since the regulations will make companies that specialize in harnessing solar and wind power more viable.
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