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EPA Delays Power Plant GHG Limits

The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed, by two months, a deadline for when it must propose draft rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

In a statement, the EPA said it is moving the deadline for proposing the GHG performance standard, from July 26 to September 30. The schedule for oil refineries does not change, the EPA said.

Reuters reported that the deadline for that rule proposal, on oil refinery GHG emissions, is this December.

“EPA has engaged in an extensive and open public process to gather the latest and best information prior to proposing carbon pollution standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, one of the largest stationary sources of carbon pollution,” the agency statement said.

“Through this process – which included listening sessions with the business community, states and others – a wide range of stakeholders have presented the agency with important input which deserves to be fully considered as the agency works to develop smart, cost-effective and protective standards.

“To that end, EPA today finalized an agreement with several litigants to extend the deadline for proposing standards from July 26, 2011 to September 30, 2011. The deadline for the final standards remains May 26, 2012.”

Reuters says the change was expected as congressional Republicans and major utilities have drawn swords against the EPA’s current agenda, the most ambitious in years.

This spring the EPA announced that it was pushing back the reporting deadline for greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters and fuel suppliers, originally set for March 31. The new deadline is September 30 of this year, the department said.

And in May, the EPA said it was delaying the implementation of standards for industrial boilers and incinerators. The rules are aimed at reducing toxic air emissions, including mercury, soot and dioxins.

President Obama has pledged to cut GHG by about 17 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels.

Picture credit: Marcia O’Connor

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