EPA poised to declare dangers of greenhouse gas

Smoke rises from a chemical company's stacks in a file photo. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to declare on Friday that greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide endanger human health and welfare, environmental and congressional sources said.

The EPA’s decision could clear the way for possible U.S. regulation of these emissions, and is expected to spur action in Congress to pass carbon-capping legislation to curb global warming.

On Monday, the White House Office of Management and Budget completed its review of the environment agency’s so-called endangerment finding, a necessary step in the process.

Such a finding is essential for the U.S. government to regulate climate-warming emissions like carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the EPA has the authority to make these regulations if human health is threatened by global warming pollution but no regulations went forward during the Bush administration.

Carbon dioxide, one of several so-called greenhouse gases that spur global warming, is emitted by natural and industrial sources, including fossil-fueled vehicles, coal-fired power plants and oil refineries.

Writing and reporting by Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Bill Trott