For Immediate Release - December 07, 2009

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Applauds the Endangerment Determination on Greenhouse Gases Issued by the EPA

BOSTON - As the lead state petitioner in Mass. v. EPA, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley applauds the action that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took today in issuing a determination that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.

"I applaud EPA Administrator Jackson for taking this critical step toward grappling with climate change. The Administrator's finding that we are altering the world's climate and endangering our own health and welfare through our unconstrained and inefficient use of fossil fuels is well supported and must be addressed on the federal level. Massachusetts has already committed itself to doing all that it can on this problem, and we strongly support today's action by the EPA."

On April 2, 2007, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Massachusetts and eleven other states in Mass v. EPA, marking the first Supreme Court case ever involving global warming. The ruling was 5-4 with the majority opinion authored by Justice Stevens. In this case, the Court ruled that the EPA has existing authority under the Federal Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Greenhouse gas pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, cause the warming of the earth's atmosphere. The EPA previously refused to regulate such gases, arguing it lacked statutory authority. The Court also concluded that the EPA's grounds for refusing to regulate greenhouse gases were legally insufficient, and directed the agency to reconsider.

Today, the EPA formally declared carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare.