Well Washington's mountain has finally come to Mohammed. America's Environmental Protection Agency has spoken. The EPA has officially ruled that global warming has endangered the health and welfare of Americans and must be reduced.
Was this the EPA's Homer Simpson moment? Not really but it is a reflection of how America's environment agency was hogtied during the Republican Reign of Terror. McClatchey Newspapers notes that the EPA has a lot of catching up to do, years in fact:
Monday's finding means that the EPA will proceed with preparations to regulate large producers of greenhouse gas emissions. Those rules could take effect if Congress doesn't pass legislation.
Nonetheless, it probably would be years before new EPA rules took effect for existing coal-fired power plants, the main source of heat-trapping gases. The Obama administration prefers to have Congress do that work through a climate and energy law.
The EPA's action follows a 2007 Supreme Court decision that ordered a reluctant Bush administration to determine whether greenhouse gases endanger America's health and welfare. The court ruled that if the EPA found that the pollution was dangerous, it was required under the Clean Air Act to tackle the problem. Monday's announcement was the agency's final decision on this "endangerment finding."
Naturally, America's neo-con far Right (also known as the "Total Nutjobs") isn't taking this lying down:
The Competitive Enterprise Institute said it would sue to get the endangerment finding overturned on the grounds that the EPA ignored issues raised in what it calls Climategate. The institute is a policy group that advocates small government and runs a blog that argues that climate change isn't a serious problem.