EPA keeps threshold in place for greenhouse gas emissions
Written byJEAN CHEMNICK, Greenwire
U.S. EPA reaffirmed today that it would not regulate smaller sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the near future.
The Clean Air Act required EPA to consider the feasibility of reducing its threshold for regulation of greenhouse gases, but its final "step three" of the so-called tailoring rule confirmed that the agency will regulate only new sources that emit at least 100,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent, or existing sources that meet the same threshold when they expand to increase their emissions by at least 75,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The Clean Air Act, by contrast, sets the threshold for regulation at 100 or 250 tons of covered pollutant per year, but the agency has said that threshold would create an "absurd" result for carbon dioxide.
"Today's final rule is part of EPA's common-sense, phased-in approach to greenhouse gas permitting under the Clean Air Act, announced in 2010 and recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit," the agency said in a news release.
EPA added that it is also finalizing a provision to allow companies to average their emissions across an entire plant, to streamline the permitting process and to help state and local authorities implement the greenhouse gas permitting process.
The final rule comes one week after the appeals court found that industry litigants did not have standing to challenge the tailoring rule. Industry groups and their allies in Congress have warned for two years that the tailoring rule could be overturned by the courts, leaving small emitters from bakeries to farms on the hook for costly greenhouse gas permitting requirements.
But the American Petroleum Institute said even a regulatory regime focused on large emitters will have a wide-ranging effect on the economy.
"EPA's greenhouse gas regulations continue to require businesses wishing to expand to jump through unnecessary requirements, slowing business expansion and job creation that America needs to help strengthen our economy," said Howard Feldman, API's director of regulatory and scientific affairs.