Greenhouse Gas Permitting System Powers Forward

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the timing for major sources of greenhouse gases to revise their permits, or to obtain new permits under the new greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting and permitting regulations.

The first stationary sources will be required to get Clean Air Act permits that cover greenhouse gases in January, 2011.

The EPA is trying to balance what it sees as its mandate to protect Americans’ health and welfare, and to provide time for large industrial facilities and state governments to put in place cost-effective, innovative technologies to control and reduce carbon pollution. The permitting requirements will be effective on January 2, 2011.

This is a common sense plan for phasing in the protections of the Clean Air Act. It gives large facilities the time they need to innovate, governments the time to prepare to cut greenhouse gases and it ensures that we don’t push this problem off to our children and grandchildren,” said EPA Administrator Jackson. “With a clear process in place, it’s now time for American innovators and entrepreneurs to go to work and lead us into the clean energy economy of the future.”The EPA action determines that Clean Air Act construction and operating permit requirements for the largest emitting facilities will begin when the first national rule controlling GHGs takes effect. If finalized as proposed, the rule limiting GHG emissions for cars and light trucks would trigger these requirements on January 2, 2011 — the earliest that model year 2012 vehicles meeting the standards can be sold in the United States. The agency expects to issue final vehicle GHG standards shortly.

The EPA has committed to focusing its GHG permitting requirements on the largest sources. The agency will make a decision later this spring on the amount of GHGs facilities can emit before having to include limits for these emissions in their permits.

The EPA’s action is the final step in its reconsideration of the December 18, 2008 memorandum, “EPA’s Interpretation of Regulations that Determine Pollutants Covered by Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit Program.”

The final action clarifies when GHGs and other pollutants are covered under Clean Air Act permitting programs.

Article by Roger Greenway appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

photo: kevindooley

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