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EPA Finalizes GHG Emissions Rule, Targets Largest Emitters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its rulings to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the largest stationary sources at facilities such as power plants and oil refineries that are responsible for 70 percent of GHG emissions.

The EPA has agreed to a phased-in approach for permitting requirements that will address large facilities first, which are already obtaining Clean Air Act permits for other pollutants, starting in January 2011. These facilities will be required to include GHGs in their permit if they increase these emissions by at least 75,000 tons per year.

In July 2011, permitting requirements will expand to cover all new facilities with GHG emissions of at least 100,000 tons per year and modifications at existing facilities that would increase GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tons per year. EPA says these permits must demonstrate the use of best available control technologies to minimize GHG emission increases when facilities are constructed or significantly modified.

Under the new emissions thresholds for GHGs that begin in July 2011, EPA estimates approximately 900 additional permits covering new sources and modifications as well as 550 additional facilities that will need to obtain operating permits for the first time.

EPA air official Gina McCarthy told Reuters that sources that pollute less than 50,000 metric tonnes per year would not be regulated until 2016, if ever, reports Reuters.

Currently, the EPA faces several existing lawsuits that question the EPA’s authority on climate.

So far, feedback from a few industry organizations indicates their concerns over the EPA’s regulation of industry emissions.

As an example, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) says that the final rule “under the Clean Air Act is unlawful and should be scrapped.”

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) raised concerns that the regulation of stationary sources will “discourage new investments and impose new costs on manufacturing industries.”

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One thought on “EPA Finalizes GHG Emissions Rule, Targets Largest Emitters

  1. So, NPRA says that the final rule “under the Clean Air Act is unlawful and should be scrapped.”, do they? Following the link, they further state that “EPA created this regulatory mess when it decided, based on a questionable administrative record, to use the Clean Air Act for a purpose the authors of the law never intended – to regulate greenhouse gases”.

    Both statements by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association are patently false. In fact, they are lying – let’s not mince words here.

    The fact of the matter is that the EPA was forced, by a Supreme Court ruling, to investigate the hazards associated with GHG emissions – and to regulate them if a significant threat was determined to exist. There is nothing unlawful about any of that. And the “questionable administrative record” reference is nothing more than a smokescreen.

    This is a classic, and laughable, example of the usual industry reaction to any governmental process that they perceive as threatening to their ‘business as usual’ strategy to continue raking in their profits. Without regard to consequences suffered by society as a result.

    Stating that one’s own industry should be exempt from sharing any cost or contributing to the required solution; is quite frankly unacceptable. Is your industry a part of our society? Does it use Earth’s natural resources? Does it rely on Earth’s infrastructure to accept and recycle (eventually) it’s waste products? Then your industry MUST accept it’s share of the burden, and it’s share of the responsibility.

    We must all participate, we must all act in our collective best interests to avoid the worst of the global climate change threat.

    And the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) is no better. They raised concerns that the regulation of stationary sources will “discourage new investments and impose new costs on manufacturing industries”. So what? Their industry is likewise a part of our society, reaping the benefits of natural resources, and likewise sharing in the responsibility to respond to the crisis.

    Memo to both groups: Stop pouting about your own narrow economic self-interests.

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