GHG "tailoring" rule on its way?

14 Apr 2010

Large businesses could soon face a final rule imposing climate change rules on them.  After a 2007 Supreme Court decision, concluding that EPA could regulate in the field of climate change under the Clean Air Act, in 2009, EPA published a finding that greenhouse gasses (GHG) threatened the public health and welfare of current and future generations. EPA also proposed a rule focusing on large facilities emitting over 25,000 tons of GHG a year, proposing to require them to obtain permits demonstrating that they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions.

Since then, there has been a firestorm of comments and criticisms of the concept of EPA GHG regulation, with many in Congress galvanized into trying to legislate before EPA regulates. The so called “climategate” email brouhaha certainly hasn’t helped those focusing on regulation or legislation. Thus far, no legislation has emerged.

Responding to that firestorm, and maybe backing off a bit, EPA recently promised to release a “tailoring rule” which would take effect in January of 2011. The rule would narrow the 2009 proposed rule to “tailor” the GHG permit program to limit which facilities would be required to obtain federal V permits for the first 6 months of 2011 to only those that already require a prevention-of-significant-deterioration (PSD) permit for other pollutants and would raise the triggering emission threshold from 25,000 tons per year to 75,000 tpy through 2012. Small farms, restaurants and many other types of small facilities would not be subject to these permitting programs. Whether EPA meets its April 30 deadline remains to be seen.

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