EPA’s greenhouse gas plan -- or is it?

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Hundreds of billions of dollars in estimated potential savings to consumers at the gas pump and elsewhere from greenhouse gas reductions have been slashed in a key Environmental Protection Agency document set to be unveiled this morning by Administrator Stephen Johnson, according to a source with close ties to the agency.

A May 30 draft document prepared by EPA staff concluded that as much as $2 trillion in benefits to consumers from reduced fuel usage and other savings could be achieved over time if, for instance, automobiles were redesigned to reduce greenhouse gases. After the White House Office of Management and Budget had a look, that amount has dropped to $1.2 trillion -- or $800 billion less -- as of last night, the source said.

Several other agencies have also written letters commenting on the EPA’s proposal on greenhouse gas regulations, which Johnson will reportedly include as part of his announcement. In the past, officials of the Energy and Transportation departments, as well as the White House, have had a different take than EPA staff on climate change and what should be done.

Johnson’s announcement, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, is the latest step in a saga lasting more than a year, ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must study and act on climate change if it is harming the public.


-- Janet Wilson