Climate Change

Published on May 24th, 2010 | by Guest Contributor


New EPA Rules for Greenhouse Gases

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released final versions of their new rules for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from what they call “stationary sources,” which includes power plants, refineries and factories. The rules apply the Clean Air Act permit requirements to include six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro fluorocarbons, per-fluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

Photo Credit: otodo The EPA's new rules tailor the Clean Air Act to factories, power plants and refineries.

The EPA's new rules tailor the Clean Air Act to factories, power plants and refineries.

“After extensive study, debate and hundreds of thousands of public comments, EPA has set common-sense thresholds for greenhouse gases that will spark clean technology innovation and protect small businesses and farms.” — Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator.

The new EPA regulations raise the emissions threshold to lessen the impact on smaller emitters. As of January 2011, all stationary sources that are already getting Clean Air Act permits for other pollutants will need to include greenhouse gases if they emit at least 75,000 tons. In 2012 that threshold rises to 100,000 tons. The EPA expects the rules to apply to 67% of GHG’s from stationary sources and estimates 900new permits.

While senator John Kerry celebrated the move, others see the EPA as legislating and going beyond the power of their office. It is almost certain that they will be sued for this, and they are certainly not making any friends in the industrial world.

“If EPA wants changes in the Clean Air Act it should propose them to Congress, not unlawfully take on the role of Congress. If EPA is allowed to get away with this, it sets a dangerous precedent for unelected officials in federal agencies to change laws approved by the elected representatives of the American people.” — National Petrochemical & Refiners Association Executive Vice President Gregory M. Scott

Did he really just say American people? Yes, he did. And that gives you an idea of what the battle is going to be like around this issue. I expect the Tea Party, Greenpeace, and a whole lot of campaign speeches to emit a lot of words on this issue before the year is out.

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