Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Policy Guide

Regulatory Updates and Specific Actions

June 26, 2012:

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision affirming EPA’s first round of greenhouse gas regulations in all respects. These regulations included EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding,” its motor vehicle GHG emission rule, its “Timing Rule” in which it commenced GHG regulation of stationary sources under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting programs, and its “Tailoring Rule” in which it limited PSD and Title V regulation to large industrial sources. The rules were challenged by a large number of businesses, business associations and several states, and supported by environmental organizations and other states. For a summary of the ruling, click here.

 

May 7, 2012:

The EPA has scheduled two public hearings on May 24 to take comment on its proposed COperformance standards for new steam and combined cycle electric generating units.  The hearings will take place in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, IL.  Because the Clean Air Act requires EPA to take comments for at least thirty days following such a public hearing, EPA has also extended the comment deadline for this rulemaking to June 25, 2012 (the previous deadline was June 12).

Action: Submit comments on the proposed rule. Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov. Docket No. EPA‐HQ‐OAR‐2011‐0660.  Pursue press opportunities to highlight the impact of greenhouse gas regulations on your state.

 

April 13, 2012:

EPA’s proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for CO2 emissions from new electric generating units were published in the Federal Register on April 13.  Public comments on the proposed NSPS are due June 12, 2012.  The proposed standard would require new fossil fuel-fired electric generating units to achieve a CO2 emission rate equivalent to that of a modern natural gas combined cycle facility.

Action:  Submit comments on the proposed rule. Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov. Docket No. EPA‐HQ‐OAR‐2011‐0660.  Pursue press opportunities to highlight the impact of greenhouse gas regulations on your state.

 

March 27, 2012:

The EPA has proposed a carbon dioxide standard for new power plants. The rulemaking affects new generating units that will be built in the future, and does not apply to existing units already operating or units that will start construction over the next 12 months. The agency is seeking additional comment and information, including public hearings as it completes the rulemaking process. EPA’s comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Action:  Submit comments on the proposed rule once published in the Federal Register. Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov. Pursue press opportunities to highlight the impact of greenhouse gas regulations on your state.

 

March 8, 2012:

EPA has published the third step of its greenhouse gas Tailoring Rule in the Federal Register. The rule leaves the greenhouse gas emission major source thresholds unchanged from the Step 2 level but adds changes EPA claims will provide flexibility to regulated industries.

Action: Submit comments on the proposed rule. EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule until April 20. Comments  can be made at http://www.regulations.govor a-and-r-docket@epa.gov and should reference docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR 2009-0517.

 

February 24, 2012:

EPA proposed a new rule addressing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions from new and modified stationary sources that will trigger Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting after July 1, 2013.  The proposed rule also addresses GHG emission thresholds for Title V permitting of new and existing sources and recommends no changes to the thresholds in EPA’s April 2010 “Tailoring Rule”.  Although the EPA had indicated in the Tailoring Rule that it might eventually apply PSD and Title V permitting requirements to smaller sources, the proposed rule argues that state permitting authorities are not yet ready to handle the larger volume of permit applications that would result from a lower emission threshold.  The proposed rule also includes two amendments to the Tailoring Rule that are supposed to streamline PSD permitting procedures.  One amendment would allow a regulated entity to make modifications without obtaining a PSD permit provided that the source’s GHG emissions do not exceed a “plantwide applicability limit”. The second amendment would allow EPA to issue simplified “synthetic minor” permits to sources that maintain their GHG emissions below PSD permitting thresholds by adopting operating restrictions or other measures.

Action:  Submit comments on the proposed rule and amendments. This proposal will be open to public comment for 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Docket number is EPA‐HQ‐OAR‐2009‐0517.  Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov.

 

February 23, 2012

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, (R-KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, and U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12), Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with 219 colleagues in the House, sent a letter to President Obama’s acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting him to stop the EPA’s current greenhouse gas rulemaking. They state that increased regulations on greenhouse gases will drive up energy prices and threaten domestic jobs at a time when the nation can least afford it.

Action: Write a letter to the Office of Management and Budget about the impacts of EPA  regulation of greenhouse gases on your state.

 

Feb 21, 2012:

On February 21, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Gas Association sued the EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of challenging a rule issued in December 2011 that requires drilling operations for petroleum and natural gas to report their GHG emissions according to geological formation and on a county level. The petitioners claim that the reporting requirement revisions were not all part of the proposed rule, and therefore were not subject to a notice and comment period prior to the release of the final rule.  The groups also stated that additional “errors” and “unworkable provisions” must be fixed before the rule takes effect. The case numbers are  American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, D.C. Cir. No. 1201107 and American Gas Association v. EPA, D.C. Cir. No. 12-1108.

 

February 6, 2012

The EPA sent the third step of its greenhouse gas Tailoring Rule to White House Office of Management and Budget for review. The proposed rule is expected to solicit comments on revisions to its greenhouse gas permitting program and is the last step before the rule is published. The EPA anticipates proposing the rule in March.

 

February 1, 2012:

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) wrote to Jeffrey Zeints, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to request that the proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants be withdrawn, citing concerns over the harmful consequences for jobs and the economy. The committee leaders wrote, “In this rulemaking, EPA may be seeking to do precisely what Congress and the American public rejected in the last Congress.  The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation from the 111th Congress would have significantly raised the cost of energy and driven jobs overseas.  With respect to electricity, it would have effectively required that U.S. coal-fired power plants use carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies that have been neither demonstrated nor deployed on a commercial scale.  Further increasing electricity costs by requiring commercially unproven technologies, or forcing a transition away from coal will send thousands more U.S. jobs overseas at a time when the nation can least afford it.”

 

December 2, 2011:

EPA promulgated two final rules making certain technical amendments to its mandatory GHG reporting program.  One of the rules changes the emission thresholds that trigger reporting for underground coal mines and electrical transmission and distribution facilities; clarifies deadlines for submitting GHG reports and filing other required information; and requires more detailed reporting in situations where reporting entities use “best available monitoring methods” in lieu of the GHG monitoring methods required by the reporting rule.  In addition, the new rule extends the 2012 reporting deadline from March 31, 2012 to September 28, 2012 for twelve affected industries. Facilities that previously reported in 2011, and plan to take advantage of the extended reporting deadline in 2012, must notify EPA by March 31, 2012 of their decision to use the extended deadline.  The second rule makes a number of technical changes to reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems.

 

November 2011:

The Obama Administration announced that the EPA has filed its proposed rule for Greenhouse Gas New Performance Standards for power plants with the Office of Management and Budget. The agency will accept additional public comments before final approval of the rule. After the Agency missed its self-imposed September 2011 deadline for approval, a specific timeline has not been set.

 

November 2011:

The EPA delayed the deadline for approval of its Greenhouse Gas New Performance Standards for refineries. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stated that the new standards would be released “early next year”. The EPA and a group of environmental litigants said that a new timeline would be announced by November 30th.

 

November 2011:

As part of Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, the EPA filed its brief defending its findings that greenhouse gases pose a danger to the environment and the public. The brief supports the Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, since they purportedly pose a risk to public health and welfare. The DC Circuit Court will hear arguments in late February 2012.

Resources:

Greenhouse Gas Regulation Talking Points. American Legislative Exchange Council. January, 2012.

Potential Harm of EPA Greenhouse Gas Control Regulations to Minorities, Low-Income Persons, the Elderly, and Those Living on Fixed Incomes. Management Information Services, Inc. September 2010.

 EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck: Strategies for State Legislators. American Legislative Exchange Council. February 2011.

Public Comment Re: Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. American Legislative Exchange Council. June 2012.

Regulation of Greenhouse Gases by ALEC_States