EPA delays greenhouse gas regulation until 2011

EPA delays greenhouse gas regulation until 2011
Published: 30 March 2010

The US Environmental Protection Agency says it will delay by about nine months its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from large, stationary sources under the Clean Air Act until 2 January 2011.

The EPA had been evaluating when the regulations – which will require emitters to obtain permits showing they are using the best available practices and technologies to cut carbon pollution – would become effective, and the scope of the regulations.

On Monday, the EPA determined that “permitting requirements will not apply to a newly regulated pollutant until a regulatory requirement to control emissions of that pollutant ‘takes effect.’” In the case of the greenhouse gases, regulations covering emissions from new vehicles are expected to begin on 2 January 2011 – with the availability of the 2012 model year vehicles – thus triggering the regulations for large, stationary emitters.

The alternative would have been to make the permitting requirements effective with the date the regulation containing the requirements is promulgated – nine months earlier in the case of the vehicle emissions standards.

These EPA regulations are expected to be the first national controls on greenhouse gas emissions, as the Obama Administration has been unable to move a GHG cap through Congress – though an effort remains alive this spring.

EPA says the January 2011 date is part of a “phased in approach” that provides “time for large industrial facilities and state governments to put in place cost-effective, innovative technologies to control and reduce carbon pollution”.