WASHINGTON — After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) announced a final rule on Dec. 7 stating that greenhouse gases (G.H.G.s) are a threat to the public health and welfare of the American people and that G.H.G. emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat, many in the industry are asking how this could impact their businesses — and what’s next for the G.H.G. campaign.

Six greenhouse gases are included in E.P.A.’s rule — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride, according to the American Meat Institute (A.M.I.). This ruling will allow E.P.A. to move forward with the G.H.G. standards proposed earlier this year for new light-duty vehicles and to regulate global-warming gases — even without legislation in the U.S. Congress.

E.P.A. received more than 380,000 comments during the 60-day public comment period. A.M.I. also commented on the Endangerment Finding, stating that it does not support E.P.A.’s Endangerment Finding as the proposed rule (now final rule) was mostly based on future G.H.G. concentrations, anticipated climate changes and adverse public health and welfare effects that are expected to result from elevated temperatures, air quality changes, effects of extreme events on society, climate-sensitive diseases and aeroallergens.

A.M.I. also does not support regulating G.H.G. emissions under the Clean Air Act because it could lead to serious economic consequences not only for A.M.I. member companies, but also for the entire U.S. economy. This final rule could expose large sectors of the economy to significant corporate liability for producing products that purportedly endanger health and welfare.

The final rule is scheduled to go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected in a few days. Click
here for more information on the E.P.A.’s findings.