By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON, Nov 27 A policy reform group plans
to issue a notice on Wednesday informing the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency that it will file a lawsuit to force the
agency to use federal rules to cap and charge for carbon
emissions from the transportation sector.
The Institute for Policy Integrity, a part of New York
University's Law School, said it is acting because U.S. fuel
efficiency standards are not stringent enough.
The group sent the formal petition to EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson, requesting that she "propose and adopt regulations"
that would set up an emissions trading system to curb carbon
output from fuel used in vehicles and aircraft.
The group said a comprehensive cap-and-trade system, which
would set both a mandatory limit and price on each ton of carbon
emitted, would be more effective than the Obama administration's
fuel economy standard, which requires that new cars achieve an
average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
"Over the past four years, the Environmental Protection
Agency has put several regulations in place to decrease
greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate
change. But none are as comprehensive and cost-effective as
placing a cap on emissions," the group said in a statement.
Energy analysts are braced for a litany of lawsuits against
the environmental regulator following Obama's re-election from
environmental groups that want the EPA to take stronger action
and from opponents of its rules.
Michael Livermore, executive director of Policy Integrity,
told Reuters that, if the agency remains in a "holding pattern"
and delays the implementation of new pollution rules, he expects
other groups to take legal action.
The recent devastation that Superstorm Sandy caused along
the U.S. East Coast highlighted the need for the administration
to work faster to bring down carbon emissions, the group said.
Policy Integrity petitioned the EPA to take the following
- Determine that greenhouse gases from vehicles and aircraft
endanger public welfare
- Propose an "upstream" cap-and-trade system targeting oil
- Propose joint rule making with the Federal Aviation
Administration to incorporate fuels used in aircraft into the
cap and trade system