EPA To Set Greenhouse Gas Standards

January 2011Newsletters In the Zone

On Dec. 23, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards under the Clean Air Act in 2011. The agency looked at a number of sectors and is moving forward on GHG standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries—two of the largest industrial sources, representing nearly 40 percent of the GHG pollution in the United States. The schedule issued in the agreements provides a path forward for these sectors and is part of the EPA’s approach to addressing GHGs from the largest industrial pollution sources.

Several states, local governments and environmental organizations sued the EPA over its failure to update the pollution standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries, two of the largest source categories of GHG pollution in the United States. Under the new agreement, the EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011 and will issue final standards in May 2012 and November 2012, respectively.

This schedule will allow the agency to host listening sessions with the business community, states and other stakeholders in early 2011 before the rulemaking process begins as well as to solicit additional feedback during the routine notice and comment period.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set industry-specific standards for new sources that emit significant quantities of harmful pollutants. These standards, called New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), set the level of pollution new facilities may emit and address air pollution from existing facilities.

The EPA will accept public comment on these two agreements for 30 days following publication of notice in the Federal Register.

For more information, please contact Clair E. Wischusen at 215.918.3559 or [email protected].