On June 16, 2022, three days from now, we will file with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) our Petition to Phase Out Greenhouse (GHG) Pollution to Restore a Stable and Secure Climate.
This is the product of 24-months of research, discussion, and consultation. The decarbonization demand is ambitious, but no more than is required to secure our children’s future. To get it done, we need your new or renewed support.
We proceed here under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and specifically, its Citizen’s Petition section.1TSCA Section 21, 15 USC §2620 of TSCA. The Petition also is based on the Administrative Procedure Act, §553(e) (right to petition for a rule) and the US Constitution, 1st Amendment (right to petition to redress grievances). The statute, as amended in 2016 is strong: it requires EPA to act where a chemical substance (here, GHGs) “presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” By invoking TSCA, we aim to provide a secure legal basis for a long-overdue national decarbonization effort. At this stage, there is no good alternative.
The Petition is neatly divided. Part I covers the law and demands specific changes in policy. Part II outlines the relevant science. Executive summaries of both, along with a one-page fact sheet, are available now. See our Petition page here, and its Fact Sheet here.2The full Petition goes live at 10am Eastern, when we file at EPA, but let us know if you need it before: email@example.com.
Each of our co-petitioners contributed mightily, including renowned climate scientist James E. Hansen, 35-year veteran EPA scientist (now retired) Donn J. Viviani, atmospheric chemist John Birks, climate accountability analyst Richard Heede, and physician and clinical professor of psychiatry Lise Van Susteren. See here.
Thursday’s filing starts a 90-day period by law, within which EPA needs to accept or reject the Petition.3TSCA §6, 15 USC 2605(a).
Our summary of the relevant science overwhelmingly supports an unreasonable risk determination. Unarrested GHG pollution has pressed the concentration of GHGs into the danger zone, and we are beginning to reap the whirlwind: heightened wildfire; deadly heatwaves; extreme drought; severe flooding; rising seas; an increasingly acidified, shell-dissolving ocean.
The situation is far worse than unreasonable. As the President has observed, we confront an existential threat. Accordingly, EPA needs to act with determination and speed. Specifically, under TSCA, upon its unreasonable risk determination, the Agency “shall by rule” apply one or more requirements, including restrictions to the point of prohibition on the production and disposal of GHG pollution.
But securing the proper determination and, even more, a strong rule, will not be easy. We anticipate over-weaning opposition from the fossil-fuel industry, likely marked by impressive disinformation. We must prepare – including by raising a war-chest sufficient to enable us to truly bring it before the Agency, in the federal courts, and in the Court of Public Opinion.
The fate of our climate implicates everything, while the prognosis under business as usual is intolerable. That is why we must place every significant viable legal tool to the purpose even, or perhaps especially, at this late hour.
Join us. Your full engagement and support will resonate in our work. Our Petition page is here.4Namely, at https://cprclimate.org/about/actions-campaigns/petition-to-epa/ At its end you can endorse the Petition and also elect to contribute generously to this Campaign.
Only together can we make this happen. Together we must restore and protect a stable and healthy climate.
- 1TSCA Section 21, 15 USC §2620 of TSCA. The Petition also is based on the Administrative Procedure Act, §553(e) (right to petition for a rule) and the US Constitution, 1st Amendment (right to petition to redress grievances).
- 2The full Petition goes live at 10am Eastern, when we file at EPA, but let us know if you need it before: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3TSCA §6, 15 USC 2605(a).