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EPA Wants to Regulate Gas Emissions

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The United States outlined a dual path Wednesday toward cutting greenhouse gases that would involve both the Obama administration and Congress.

Speaking at the U.N.'s climate conference in Copenhagen, The Associated Press reports Lisa Jackson, the Environmental Protection Agency's administrator, said greenhouse gases should be regulated as complementary to U.S. legislation--not as an effort to supplant the work of Congress.

"This is not an either/or moment. This is a both/and moment," Jackson told more than 100 people who packed a U.S. meeting room in the conference center. Negotiators at the 192-nation U.N. conference are also working to bridge the chasm between rich and poor countries over how to share the burden of fighting climate change.

Jackson's agency recently provided the Obama administration with scientific evidence showing greenhouse gas emissions endanger the health of Americans. They also found that the pollutants--mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels--would arguably be regulated best under the Clean Air Act. If the regulation of those gases does come under that act, the EPA would be doing the regulation without the approval of Congress.

The EPA's announcement was a welcome one to other nations at the conference that have called on the U.S. to boost its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The full Senate has not yet taken up legislation that cleared its environment committee calling for greenhouse gases to be cut by 20 percent by 2020. That target was scaled back to 17 percent in the House after opposition from coal-state Democrats.