The US Environmental Protection Agency has forwarded an "endangerment finding" under the Clean Air Act that would lay the foundation for EPA greenhouse gas emission regulations under the Act. Under the Massachusetts v. EPA case in which the US Supreme Court remanded an EPA decision under the Bush Administration to not regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, EPA may use the endangerment finding, that greenhouse gas emissions as a pollutant are a risk to human health and welfare, to move forward with restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions if Congress does not pass greenhouse gas legislation this year or early next year.
This is a second major step in only a short time. Recently, EPA issued a proposed regulation that would require many industries and businesses to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG Reporting Rule). In the preamble to the GHG Reporting Rule, EPA states that one purpose for the rule is to gather information for future regulatory and policy decision making.
Taken together these two steps reveal a move forward by EPA to develop the basis for a greenhouse gas regulatory system. The Obama Administration has not slowed at all with climate change actions and rhetoric, despite what many thought would be a slowdown on climate change as a result of the economic situation in the country.