Source AP ©

America has new air pollution regulations

George W. Bush responded to a Supreme Court environmental ruling by making regulatory changes that do not need U.S. congressional approval.

Bush is announcing the steps he is directing his administration to take in a White House appearance later Monday.

Last month, the high court rebuked his administration for its inaction on global warming. In a 5-4 decision, it declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases qualify as air pollutants under the Clean Air Act and thus can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The court also said that the "laundry list" of reasons the administration has given for declining to do so are insufficient, and that the agency must regulate carbon dioxide, the leading gas linked to global warming, it finds that it endangers public health.

Democrats who took control of Congress in January from Bush's Republican Party have been pressuring the administration to say when it will comply with the high court's ruling and decide whether to regulate carbon dioxide, the leading gas linked to global warming.

Bush has said previously that he recognized the serious environmental problems created by such emissions and other so-called greenhouse gases. But he has urged against anything other than a voluntary approach to curbing emissions, saying regulations could undercut economic activity. The president also says he will accept no global deal on greenhouse gases without the participation of China, India and other high-polluting, developing nations.

In his State of the Union address in January, Bush set a goal of reducing gas consumption by 20 percent over 10 years. Under his plan, this would be accomplished by increasing the use of alternative fuels to 35 billion gallons (133 billion liters) by 2017 and boosting fuel efficiency standards in new vehicles.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the president's new announcement is "his latest effort to ensure that the nation's taking aggressive steps to reduce gas consumption and to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources."

"He will ask the administration to start implementing the 20-in-10 program through regulatory action," Snow said. "At the same time, he will continue to urge Congress to pass legislation to advance the goal."

Democrats who control Congress have been pressuring the administration to say when it will comply with the high court's ruling and decide whether to regulate carbon dioxide, the leading gas linked to global warming.

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