EPA proposes new greenhouse gas regulations

12/28/09 Joshua Lee Holton
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule change in the Clean Air Act, such that only the biggest polluters will be subject to regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. Today is the last day the EPA is taking public comments about the rule; comments are open until midnight tonight.

The EPA announced earlier this month that greenhouse gas emissions are a threat to both public health and the environment. The news came right before the climate conference in Copenhagen. The EPA also sent a proposal to the White House that would limit greenhouse gas emissions regulations to only cover industrial facilities that emit over 25,000 tons per year.

Republican lawmakers who oppose the rule have claimed that new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions would raise the costs for hospitals, restaurants, schools, or other small scale facilities.

Rolf Skar is a senior campaigner for Greenpeace. Skar said the rule will put to rest claims that small businesses will be adversely affected by new greenhouse gas emission regulations.

Currently the Clean Air Act requires facilities that emit 250 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year to install the best available technologies. Skar says this can be expensive for small scale operations, and so the new rule will only require large scale polluters to follow this standard.

Critics say the new rule would violate the authority of the Clean Air Act by exempting small polluters. According to Environment and Energy Publishing, The Competitive Enterprise Institute has already hinted at filing future law suits against the rule. Skar said the opposition is typical of industrial resistance to regulation.

The proposed change is applauded by environmentalists, and opposed by petroleum industry lobbyists.

For the proposal info for the "Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule" click the Adobe Acrobat Icon here

Public comments can be directed here.

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