Washington, D.C. April 8, 2010 — The National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, the nation’s voice for small business owners in our nation’s courts, has filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit Court to support the legal challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding that certain greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare and therefore, under the Clean Air Act, must be regulated by the EPA.
On December 15, 2009, the EPA announced a final rule regarding the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for GHGs under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The rule finds that six greenhouse gases taken in combination endanger the public health and welfare. This effectively allows the EPA to continue to announce new emissions regulations on businesses and individuals under the CAA. NFIB believes that the CAA is an inefficient and ineffective vehicle to address climate protection and that Congress solely should address GHG emissions.
“Small businesses–including ranchers, farmers, manufacturers, restaurants and many others–could be newly regulated if EPA’s Endangerment Finding is upheld by the courts,” said Karen Harned, executive director, NFIB Small Business Legal Center. “This regulation would adversely affect the ability of these small business owners to operate their businesses. At a minimum, it will increase the costs of running their business, but this could also force some small employers to eliminate jobs or even close their business altogether.”
The Endangerment Finding could lead to further regulation of stationary sources under the Clean Air Act as a matter of law. According to the EPA, as many as 6 million stationary sources may be regulated, including more than 1.3 million commercial office buildings, which house many of the nation’s small businesses.
“EPA’s ruling will trigger a regulatory avalanche under at least four CAA programs and imposes potentially crushing regulatory burdens on previously unregulated small entities,” said Harned. “Environmental regulations have been and continue to be a challenge for small businesses, as small entities are not major polluters. Small firms are least able to sustain or even understand new restrictions. This regulation will create new burdens such as federal permitting requirements, restrictions on fuel choices and energy use, and expensive requirements for installation of new energy efficient equipment. This is the exact opposite of what small businesses need right now as they try and withstand the recession and attempt to grow their businesses. We urge the court to overturn this harmful rule.”