Climate Change and the Clean Air Act

59 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2007


In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency formally refused to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, explaining that it had no authority under the Clean Air Act to undertake such regulation and that it would, in any event, decline to exercise such authority for various policy reasons. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court rejected EPA's decision on both counts. The Court held that the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and it narrowly circumscribed the circumstances under which the agency could refuse to decide whether greenhouse gases may endanger public health or welfare. This Article, written before the Supreme Court's decision was announced and based on the author's briefs for petitioners in the case, examines in detail the reasons why EPA's views on statutory authority and discretion were incorrect.

Keywords: EPA, Clean Air Act, greenhouse gas emissions

Suggested Citation

Heinzerling, Lisa, Climate Change and the Clean Air Act. University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 42, 2007; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1008492. Available at SSRN:

Lisa Heinzerling (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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