The White House on Thursday rejected EPA's conclusion three weeks earlier that the 1970 Clean Air Act "can be both workable and effective for addressing global climate change." Instead, EPA said Friday that law is "ill-suited" for dealing with climate change.
This contrasts sharply with the tone of statements President Bush made at the just-concluded G-8 summit of leading industrialized nations in Toyako, Japan. The United States at that meeting joined other summit partners in embracing a policy declaration to seek a 50 percent reduction in global greenhouse gases by 2050.
In a major setback to the administration, the Supreme Court ruled last year that the government has authority under the Clean Act to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. Bush has consistently opposed that option.
Supporters of regulating greenhouse gases could get only 38 votes in the 100-member Senate last month. The House has held several hearings on the problem but no votes on any bill addressing it. The two major presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, have endorsed variations of the approach rejected by the Senate.
In its voluminous document, the EPA laid out a buffet of options on how to reduce greenhouse gases from cars, ships, trains, power plants, factories and refineries.