Well this certainly is encouraging, not only that the White House OMB has a degree of reality about the consequences of this nonsense, but the recognition of the thin ice (literally as opposed to the Arctic) that the science is based on. To use the term unprecedented uncertainty in regards to the science of Global Warming is very telling.
"The amount of acknowledged lack of understanding about the basic facts surrounding [greenhouse gases] seem to stretch the precautionary principle to providing regulation in the face of unprecedented uncertainty,"
EPA Chief: CO2 Danger Finding May Not 'Mean Regulation'
WASHINGTON -- The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday a finding that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are a public-health danger won't necessarily lead to government regulation of emissions, an apparent about-face for the Obama administration.
The new position follows revelation of a White House document that warns the EPA of the wide-ranging -- and potentially economically harmful -- consequences of an agency finding last month that proposes declaring greenhouse gases are a danger to the public.
The White House memo also undermines the EPA's reasoning for the "endangerment" proposal.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has previously said such a decision "will indeed trigger the beginning of regulation of CO2."
But speaking before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Ms. Jackson said Tuesday that an endangerment finding, "does not mean regulation."
An EPA spokeswoman wasn't immediately able to explain the apparent change of policy position.
Pressed by Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) about the interagency memo sent by the Office of Management and Budget to the EPA before the agency published its proposed endangerment finding, Ms. Jackson said she disagreed with several of the document's characterizations
She added, however, "We do understand that there are costs to the economy of addressing global warming."
She reiterated the administration belief that "the best way to address that is through a gradual move to a market-based program such as a cap-and-trade program."
The OMB memo warns the EPA, "Making the decision to regulate CO2 under the [Clean Air Act] for the first time is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities."
The White House legal brief starts by questioning the link between the EPA's scientific argument for endangerment and its political summary.
Ms. Jackson said in the political summary that "scientific findings in totality point to compelling evidence of human-induced climate change, and that serious risks and potential impacts to public health and welfare have been clearly identified."
But the OMB memo says the endangerment finding rests too heavily on the precautionary principle, which gives the government responsibility to act if it fears for the public's health or welfare.
"The amount of acknowledged lack of understanding about the basic facts surrounding [greenhouse gases] seem to stretch the precautionary principle to providing regulation in the face of unprecedented uncertainty," the memo reads.
The OMB document also warns of a cascade of unintended regulatory consequences, advice the Department of Interior may have used last week in its decision not to revoke a Bush administration rule that prevents using the Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from facilities such as power plants and refineries.