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EPA to release finding on warming’s dangers

WASHINGTON – The White House is reviewing a proposed finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare.

Such a declaration would be the first step to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and could have broad economic and environmental ramifications. It also would likely spur action by Congress.

The White House acknowledged Monday that the EPA had transmitted its proposed finding on global warming to the Office of Management and Budget, but provided no details.

The Supreme Court two years ago directed the EPA to decide whether greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, pose a threat to public health and welfare because they are warming the Earth. If such a finding is made, these emissions are required to be regulated under the Clean Air Act, the court said.

“I think this is just the step in that process,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, noting the Supreme Court ruling. Another White House official predicted “a long process” before any rules would be issued.