EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: Congressional Responses and Options [June 8, 2010]   [open pdf - 224KB]

"The Environmental Protection Agency's promulgation of an 'endangerment finding' for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in December 2009, and its subsequent promulgation of GHG emission standards for new motor vehicles on April 1, 2010, have raised concerns among some in Congress that the agency will now proceed to control GHG emissions from stationary sources, including power plants, manufacturing facilities, and others. Stationary sources account for 69% of U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. If the United States is to reduce its total GHG emissions, as President Obama has committed to do, it will be necessary to address these sources. EPA's regulations limiting GHG emissions from new cars and light trucks will trigger at least two other Clean Air Act (CAA) provisions affecting stationary sources of air pollution. First, effective January 2, 2011, new or modified major stationary sources will have to undergo New Source Review (NSR) with respect to their GHGs in addition to any other pollutants subject to regulation under the CAA that are emitted by the source. This review will require affected sources to install Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to address their GHG emissions. Second, all major sources of GHGs (existing and new) will have to obtain permits under Title V of the CAA (or have existing permits modified to include their GHG requirements). Beyond these permitting requirements, because stationary sources, particularly coal-fired power plants, are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, EPA is likely to find itself compelled to issue endangerment findings under other parts of the act, resulting in New Source Performance Standards for stationary sources or emission standards under other sections of the act. EPA shares congressional concerns about the potentially broad scope of these regulations, primarily because a literal reading of the act might require as many as 6 million stationary sources to obtain permits. Thus, on May 13, 2010, the agency finalized a 'Tailoring Rule' so that it can focus its resources on the largest emitters while deciding over a six-year period what to do about smaller sources. The agency is still in the process of developing recommendations on what the BACT requirements will be and expects to issue guidance on that in the fall of 2010."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41212
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
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