Thursday, October 01, 2009

EPA says it will regulate greenhouse gases, no matter what Congress does with climate bills

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it would move forward on its own to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, despite introduction of a Senate version of cap-and-trade legislation. President Obama's authorization for new emissions regulations was seen by some as a move to goad Congress into passing legislation to mitigate climate change, John M. Broder of The New York Times reports. “We are not going to continue with business as usual,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told reporters. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”

The regulations, which could take effect as early as 2011, would require 400 power plants to prove they are using the best available technology to reduce emissions, Broder reports. Jackson says the regulations would apply only to the plants that account for 70 percent of U.S. emissions by releasing over 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, and would not, as critics have suggested, apply to “every cow and Dunkin’ Donuts."

“This proposal incorrectly assumes that one industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are worse than another’s,” Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, told Broder. “E.P.A. lacks the legal authority to categorically exempt sources that exceed the Clean Air Act’s major-source threshold from permitting requirements, and this creates a troubling precedent for any agency actions in the future.” Emily Figdor, federal global warming project director for Environment America, called the decision "a common-sense step toward a cleaner, better world." (Read more)

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