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EPA to Require Large Emitters to use ‘Best Technologies’ to Reduce Emissions

smokestackiness2In a move that could galvanize industrial opposition to cap and trade, the EPA is proposing that large emitters use the “best available” technologies to minimize GHG emissions when facilities are constructed or significantly modified.

The rule would apply to large industrial operations and utilities that emit more than 25,000 tons of GHGs a year.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is introducing the proposal Sept. 30 at the California Governor’s Global Climate Summit.

The rule would require large emitters to obtain construction and operating permits to cover their emissions. To obtain the permits, the emitters would have to demonstrate their intent to use the best available control techniques, technologies and energy efficiency measures.

During the Bush Administration, the industrial lobby was able to convince the EPA to strip away regulations that called for using the best available technology to control emissions. Utilities and other large emitters complained that using the best technology was too costly and prevented the installation of new power plants, as well as upgrades.

“This is a common sense rule that is carefully tailored to apply to only the largest sources – those from sectors responsible for nearly 70 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions sources,” Jackson said, adding that small businesses such as farms, restaurants and many other types of small facilities would not be included in these requirements.

With the decision to limit the emissions regulations to facilities having more than 25,000 tons of GHGs a year, only about 400 new emissions sources and modifications to existing sources would be subject to review each year, the EPA estimates.

A total of about 14,000 large sources of emissions would need permits, the EPA estimates.

About a month ago, EPA unveiled its new take on the “endangerment finding” that would be 100 times less strict than the current rule under the Clean Air Act, which calls for facilities emitting more than 250 tons annually of a regulated pollutant to install the “best available” control technologies.

EPA has said that large emitters of greenhouse gases will have to begin collecting their emissions data Jan. 1 under the new reporting system.

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One thought on “EPA to Require Large Emitters to use ‘Best Technologies’ to Reduce Emissions

  1. It is not clear to me how this CAA regulation by EPA would “galvinize industrial opposition to cap and trade” as the above article states.

    I think it would rather have the opposite effect: when faced with the choice of EPA regulation vs. legislation regarding GHG reductions, industry will favor a legislative approach (i.e. cap and trade) since legislation can be more carefully crafted to send a more controlled price signal and ensure a smoother transition to a carbon-constrained economy.

    SWCA Environmental Performance Group

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