EPA Aims to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.

The Obama administration has announced it will use its regulatory powers to limit CO2 emissions from 14,000 major sources, a move that puts pressure on Congress to pass a climate bill and signals to other nations the U.S.’s willingness to slow global warming.

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (at left), said her agency would begin regulating CO2 as a pollutant at coal-burning power plants, refineries, and big industrial complexes, which account for 70 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA will initially use its authority to force these emitters to employ “best available technology” to implement energy-efficiency measures and reduce emissions, but eventually the agency could place emissions caps on these facilities.

“We are not going to continue with business as usual,” Jackson said. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”

Her announcement came on the day that two key U.S. Senators unveiled a carbon cap-and-trade bill, a version of which has already passed the House of Representatives. Some emitters said they would challenge the EPA, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the agency had the right to regulate CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.

[photo credit: Elsa Wenzel]

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