REGULATION OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS (GHGS)WHAT IS IT?
The U.S. Environmental Protecon Agency (EPA)is moving full steam ahead on regulang GHGsunder the Clean Air Act (CAA). The principalhuman emied GHGs include carbon dioxide,methane, nitrous oxide, and uorinated gases.The EPA blames these gases for the increasein global temperature over the past 100 years.EPA nalized rst-ever rules for reducing GHGsfrom automobiles and light-duty trucks in May2010, and has moved to implement a program of regulang GHGs from staonary sources on twodierent tracks throughout 2011 with nal rulesexpected in 2012.
EPA’s GHG perming program, which applies tonew and substanally upgraded sources that emitGHGs above certain thresholds, began on January2, 2010. This covers pre-construcon permitsunder the Prevenon of Signicant Deterioraon(PSD) poron of New Source Review as well asoperang permits under Title V. EPA is poised toroll out GHG New Source Performance Standards(NSPS) for power plants and reneries in 2012.In late December of 2010, EPA announced that ithad seled ligaon with states and environmentalgroups, agreeing to propose GHG performancestandards for fossil fuel power plants in July of 2011 and petroleum reneries in December of 2011. Both of these deadlines have been delayedby EPA into 2012. In the selement, the EPAcommied to nal rules for both types of faciliesby May 26, 2012. Crically, unlike the PSD and TitleV regulaons, the power plant NSPS regulaonswill govern new and upgraded facilies as well asexisng facilies, whether or not they upgrade.Thus, the NSPS regulaons are a key tool for EPAto get at the exisng eet of coal-red electricgenerang facilies.As noted, EPA’s rst step in its planned GHGprogram is regulaon under the PSD and TitleV permit programs. The inial target of thisprogram is large industrial, electric generaonand manufacturing facilies; over me, EPA plansfurther rulemaking to expand the universe of regulated facilies. Because the economy runson fossil fuels and because carbon dioxide is theinevitable byproduct of combusng fossil fuels,EPA’s claim of authority to regulate GHGs givesit an unprecedented ability to control virtuallyevery facet of American life. EPA is consideringregulaon of everything from ships and boats,to planes, cars and trucks, agricultural facilies,mining, movable equipment of every stripe (fromforklis to lawnmowers), and more regulaonson manufacturing and industrial facilies, andcommercial and industrial buildings.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
Energy is the lifeblood of the economy.Everything Americans buy, consume, produce,and transport requires energy. This meansanything that uses or requires energy to beproduced will increase in cost.The EPA failed to study the overall cost of itsGHG regulaons but esmates from a variety of perspecves suggest a substanal price tag.