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EPA Denies Petition to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles

Release Date: 08/28/2003
Contact Information:

Contact: EPA Office of Public Affairs, 202-564-9828

(08/28/03) EPA today signed a notice denying a petition to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The petition was filed by the International Center for Technology Assessment and a number of other organizations.

The Agency is denying the petition to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles for two primary reasons:
          • Congress has not granted EPA authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases for climate change purposes.
          • EPA has determined that setting GHG emission standards for motor vehicles is not appropriate at this time.

“Congress must provide us with clear legal authority before we can take regulatory action to address a fundamental issue such as climate change,” said Jeff Holmstead, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “We cannot try to use the Clean Air Act to regulate for climate change purposes because the Act was not designed or intended for that purpose.”

“We already are taking a number of actions, at home and abroad, to address climate change” said Mr. Holmstead. “Regulating the transportation sector for climate change purposes would have enormous economic, practical, and societal impacts. The U.S. is advancing realistic and effective long-term approaches to deal with this issue.”

In February 2002, President Bush announced a comprehensive approach for addressing climate change that encourages substantial voluntary reductions in GHG intensity and pursues fuel economy improvements. This approach sets a national goal of reducing the GHG intensity of the U.S. economy by 18 percent over the next ten years. This strategy sets the U.S. on a path to slow the growth of GHG emissions and, as the science justifies, to stop and then reverse that growth.

The Administration’s policy supports vital climate change research, and lays the groundwork for future action by investing in science, technology, and institutions. In addition, the policy emphasizes international cooperation and promotes working with other nations to develop an efficient and coordinated response to global climate change.

“EPA does have a number of very effective, non-regulatory programs that address climate change. Programs such as Climate Leaders, Energy Star, Green Power, SmartWay and Best Workplaces for Commuters are making substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gases,” added Mr. Holmstead.

In February 2002, EPA launched Climate Leaders, a voluntary industry-government partnership under which companies work with EPA to evaluate their GHG emissions, set aggressive reduction goals, and report their progress toward meeting those goals. To date, more than 40 companies from almost all of the most energy-intensive industry sectors have joined. Through EPA's Green Power Partnership, more than 150 companies have already committed to purchase about 1 billion kilowatt hours of green power across the nation.

EPA’s Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program that provides critical information to businesses and consumers about the energy efficiency of the products they purchase. Reductions in GHG emissions from Energy Star purchases were equivalent to removing 14 million cars from the road last year.

The Smartway transport partnership works with the trucking and railroad industry to develop and deploy fuel-efficient technologies and practices to achieve substantial fuel savings and emission reductions. Idling strategies alone have the potential to save 1 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year, while reducing greenhouse gases by 2.5 MMTCE and NOx by 200,000 tons.

Best Workplace for Commuters offers innovative solutions to commuting in order to reduce vehicle trips and miles traveled. We expect that 3.7 million employees will be covered by this program in 2005. EPA is also playing a leadership role in advancing fuel cell vehicle and hydrogen fuel technologies and policies to support the U.S. environmental, energy and national security goals.

The Response to the Petition will be posted this afternoon on: For additional information on EPA’s programs visit