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EPA Declaration Could Move Ohio Toward Clean Air Economy

April 20, 2009

Washington, DC - As one of the nation's largest producers of greenhouse gases, the State of Ohio must now consider what impact will come from new federal rules aimed at reducing global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a danger to public health and welfare, while announcing its authority to hold polluters accountable under the Clean Air Act.

Joe Mendelson, global warming policy director with the National Wildlife Federation, says this is a bold and positive move.

"This will be the largest step that the federal government will have taken, to date, on climate change. It will be the first step toward mandatory reduction in U.S. global warming pollution."

If that's the case, there could be serious implications for Ohio's economy, a major player in the coal and automotive production industries. While some say EPA's ruling will cause unnecessary regulation, increased costs and job loss, supporters say it will create opportunity through the transition to a clean air economy. The state currently ranks as the fourth-largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions in the country.

Tracey Sabetta, a spokeswoman for the National Wildlife Federation in Ohio, says it will spur Ohio to implement cleaner energy solutions.

"We are a coal-producing state, however, we have seen the growth of the solar industry, wind industry, biomass, through Ohio and with this declaration we are only going to see that increase."

Congress will consider the issue this week during hearings on draft climate and energy legislation, which are expected to set the framework for a cap-and-trade program to control carbon air pollution.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH