A recent US Supreme Court decision adds to the growing momentum for federal action on climate change and bolsters the case for polices to promote renewable energy development, says the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Last month the high court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants and subject to regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. While the case focussed on emissions from automobiles, its ramifications are being felt in the broader emissions reduction debate. "This decision is a big step forward and evidence of the growing consensus that the US government must take action now to address global warming," says AWEA's Randy Swisher. The chairmen of both the Senate and House used the decision to urge President George Bush to deal with the climate change issue. "If he would like to undertake a more comprehensive approach to global warming than just regulating vehicles, then I again urge him to work with Congress to enact a mandatory cap and trade proposal and other programs to reduce our nation's greenhouse gas emissions," says Senator Jeff Bingaman. The wind industry, says AWEA's Christine Real de Azua, would like to see a series of legislative and regulatory measures adopted, including a national renewables portfolio standard. If properly designed, she says, an RPS would jumpstart reduction in fossil fuel consumption and emissions from the electric sector." In a second key ruling, the Supreme Court decided that industrial facilities and power plants must get a permit before making major modifications or upgrades, which means they would have to meet current pollution control standards.
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