EPA’s Clean Air Act tailoring rule finalized today

Just a quick post to point you to the fact sheet on the final tailoring rule, the final rule itself, and an early Greenwire piece on its content.  Sure enough, as Adminstrator Jackson had been signaling for some time, the final rule significantly increases the GHG emission thresholds that will trigger New Source Review / PSD coverage, as compared with thresholds put forth in the proposed rule issued last fall.

Here’s the summary:

-For the first five months of the program (Jan. 2 – June 30, 2011):  Only those facilities that are already subject to PSD requirements for *other* pollutants are covered for their greenhouse gas emissions; and, of those covered sources, only those that are new or modified so as to increase their GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tons/yr will require PSD permits for those GHG emissions.  I don’t know how many facilities are likely to be affected in this first phase–seems like a small pool.

-From July 2011 through June 2013:  The program will expand to include some facilities never before regulated under the PSD program, and will require PSD permits for (1) new construction projects with GHG emissions of at least 100,000 TPY, as well as (2) modifications of existing facilities that increase emissions by at least 75,000 TPY.   EPA estimates that “[t]here will be approximately 900 additional PSD permitting actions each year triggered by increases in GHG emissions from new and modified emission sources” in this phase. 

-In 2011, EPA will begin a rulemaking process to assess when and whether to lower these thresholds, which are clearly designed to capture only the very largest sources.

As many have discussed (including Ann and Sean here at LP), these permitting thresholds are at odds with the statutorily-set triggers for PSD permitting (set at 100/250 TPY of regulated pollutant), and it remains to be seen whether EPA’s justifications for straying from the statute will be challenged and stand up in court.

And, of course, all of this could become moot quickly if the Senate climate bill introduced yesterday by Kerry and Lieberman has legs (ha).  That bill would amend the Clean Air Act to prevent the regulation of greenhouse gases under these New Source Review / PSD provisions entirely.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “EPA’s Clean Air Act tailoring rule finalized today”

  1. Regarding EPA’s proposed GHG rules, Cara said;

    “…it remains to be seen whether EPA’s justifications for straying from the statute will be challenged and stand up in court…”

    There are a lot of things that remain to be seen before EPA’s attempt to regulate CO2 as a “pollutant” ever becomes law. Most of us would agree that the Senate climate bill is dead and it is highly unlikely that the EPA could circumvent Congress (and our Constitution) and impose its innane concept of climate control by promulgating regulations. This approach would be overturned by the courts, and the new Congress would not tolerate such a brazen abuse of regulatory authority. The public has rejected EPA’s hype and hysteria. The only thing left is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  2. How did bgrq manage to get the part about the EPA,Congress and the courts so completely backwards? Part of me wants to scream,your missing the best part of the story! But it wouldn’t matter.

    I wonder what kinda grades bqrq got in high school science. Any wagers?

    It’s a thought that often crosses my mind, whether this ranting scepticism comes from George Will or from folks like our friend here. It’s the rise of the mediocre, revolt of the ordinary, folks who couldn’t say something about the difference between carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in combustion or couldn’t relay a competent thought about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, but will tell you with certainty that every snowstorm is proof there’s no such thing as global warming.

    It’s amazing really–or is it more like a collective insanity–this celebration of ignorance. Work hard, finish up at Harvard or Berkeley, and your stained as an elite, out of touch, unwilling to wear a side arm on vacation in a national park or carry a Luger into a Starbucks. Yes child, aim low, meaningful credentials come from places like Idaho State. And, remember, it’s the square footage that counts.

    America has never really valued professional, academic or artistic accomplishments the way Europeans–or, seems to me, South Asians or South Americans–have. Money, yes, but even then, it’s often a kind of inflated version of middle class consumption; astounding amounts of actual material, but the same kinds of houses and cars and food and clothes, just lots and lots more of it.

    I think the denial stems from some deep unease out there–not just economic uncertainty, but a lack of satisfaction with our material lives and even unease–perhaps in the background, but constant–about the state of the planet, too. The denial is an effort at self-reassurance. These aren’t so much fighting words as comfort words shared among friends or the powerful tonic from a charismatic leader.

    But the idea of global warming won’t go away. It’s like that oil out there in the Gulf, an unfathomable presence looming over the horizon, something potentially very bad–but out of sight, out of mind, not sure when or where it’s going to come ashore. No reason to change course just now. But we sense–even the commoners among us–that the words we share are fiction and the uncomfortable thought remains, what is really going on out there?

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About Cara

Cara Horowitz is the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. The Emmett Institute was founded as the f…

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