sets thresholds for greenhouse gas permitting requirements
The United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has announced a final rule to address greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions from the largest stationary sources, while
shielding millions of small sources of GHGs from Clean Air Act
permitting requirements. The phased-in, common-sense approach
will address facilities like power plants and oil refineries
that are responsible for 70 percent of the greenhouse gases from
stationary sources that threaten American’s health and welfare.
“After extensive study, debate and hundreds of thousands of public
comments, EPA has set common-sense thresholds for greenhouse
gases that will spark clean technology innovation and protect
small businesses and farms,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
EPA’s phased-in approach will start in January 2011, when Clean
Air Act permitting requirements for GHGs will kick in for large
facilities that are already obtaining Clean Air Act permits for
other pollutants. Those facilities will be required to include
GHGs in their permit if they increase these emissions by at least
75,000 tons per year.
In July 2011, Clean Air Act permitting requirements will expand
to cover all new facilities with GHG emissions of at least 100,000
tons per year and modifications at existing facilities that would
increase GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tons per year. These
permits must demonstrate the use of best available control technologies
to minimize GHG emission increases when facilities are constructed
or significantly modified.
Under the new emissions thresholds for GHGs that begin in July
2011, EPA estimates approximately 900 additional permitting actions
covering new sources and modifications to existing sources would
be subject to review each year. In addition, 550 sources will
need to obtain operating permits for the first time because of
their GHG emissions.
In April 2010, EPA set the first national GHG tailpipe standards
for passenger cars and light trucks. When GHG emissions limits
for these vehicles go into effect in January 2011, EPA is also
required to address GHG emissions from stationary sources under
the Clean Air Act’s permitting programs, which it is doing in
the plan outlined.
The final rule addresses a group of six greenhouse gases: carbon
dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons,
and sulfur hexafluoride.
EPA issued a proposed rule in October 2009 and held a 60-day
public comment period. The agency received about 450,000 comments,
which were carefully reviewed and considered during the development
of this final rule.