When the clocked struck 12:01 on New Year’s, two important green regulations went into effect that may have a long term influence on green building and renewable energy. If successful, either of these regulations would do more to change the green industry than any legal challenge to LEED’s legitimacy (see the continued coverage of the Gifford v. USGBC case
Clean Air Act
Did you notice the air was a little fresher yesterday? It’s because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started the slow process of regulating greenhouse gases in an effort to address climate change.
Earlier this year, President Obama said he would have the EPA regulate greenhouse gases if Congress failed to pass climate
A new EPA proposal is taking aim at reducing emissions from power plants that affect people living downwind. Air pollution from these sources has been shown to cause thousands of asthma cases and other cardio-respiratory impairments. The proposed regulations have been termed
The reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by major sources of these pollutants is gaining momentum.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing requirements under its national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program for underground coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment systems, industrial waste landfills and magnesium
Did you think that the Clean Air Act applied only to companies? Think again. Certain violations of the Clean Air Act are considered criminal violations, and individuals may be subject to prosecution. (A tip: Do not file falsified reports or data to the agency.)
Joseph DeMatteo of Clark County, Nev., is listed on the EPA fugitive Web site for failing to surrender to federal law enforcement authorities following his indictment for criminal violations of the Clean Air Act.
“EPA is serious about enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and making sure that those who are charged with criminal violations are held accountable,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The public can help EPA achieve its mission by reporting any information they have on the whereabouts of Mr. DeMatteo to EPA’s fugitive Web site or local law enforcement.”
Facing growing opposition from members of Congress, the Obama administration says it will gradually phase in controls on heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other large sources of CO2.
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (at left), said that beginning early next year the EPA will regulate CO2 emissions from roughly 400 large emitters of greenhouse gases, mainly coal-fired power plants.
Other major sources of CO2, such as refineries and large factories, will be subject to EPA regulation in late 2011, Jackson said in a letter to eight moderate Democratic senators concerned about the effects of the regulations on their states.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced it will mount a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Steven J. Law, the chamber’s chief legal counsel, said the business group would not question the science behind global warming but rather would challenge the process by which the EPA decided it had the right to control carbon dioxide emissions as a threat to human health.
The Obama administration has said it would prefer that Congress pass a law regulating carbon emissions, but with the passage of such a law looking increasingly unlikely, a battle is shaping up over the EPA’s possible efforts to control CO2 emissions.
The US EPA continues its New Source Review initiative. The agency has announced that emissions from container glass and Portland cement plants will be reduced under the settlement of a New Source Review case. The settlement requires the affected facilities to install new pollution control equipment Selective Catalytic Reduction, and to continuously monitor their emissions.
The settlements cover 15 U.S. plants owned by Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc., the nation’s second largest container glass manufacturer, and all 13 U.S. plants owned by the Lafarge Company and two subsidiaries, the nation’s second largest manufacturer of Portland cement. These settlements are the first system-wide settlements for these sectors under the Clean Air Act and require pollution control upgrades, acceptance of enforceable emission limits and payment of civil penalties.
Heading into the new year, we are left wondering what impact Copenhagen’s legacy (a nonbinding Accord) will have on the US Senate’s cap-and-trade bill. With the House “ACES” bill passed, the attention is now squarely focused on the Senate as it reconvenes and takes another crack at legislation regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Cap-and-trade legislation from Washington may include a federal renewable electricity standard (Washington’s version of a renewable portfolio standard). How this standard would be integrated into existing state standards or vice versa will remain a hot topic throughout 2010.
The US EPA is the source of most air quality impact assessment models used in the US for regulatory purposes, such as predicting the potential impacts from proposed stationary sources of air pollutants and mobile sources such as motor vehicles. Since motor vehicle emissions vary with regulatory changes in required emission level, it is important that impact modeling be performed with the most up-to-date models.
EPA recently announced that an updated version of the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) model — MOVES2010 — is now available for use to estimate air pollution from cars, trucks, and other on-road mobile sources. The model can also calculate the emissions reduction benefits from a range of mobile source control strategies, such as inspection and maintenance programs and local fuel standards.
The US EPA and Duke Energy have reached a settlement in another New Source Review enforcement action.
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the nation, will spend approximately $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects.
The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review requirements found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward in regulating greenhouse gas emission in the US from both mobile sources (principally autos and trucks) and stationary sources (industrial and power generation sources). The actions taken today support EPA in regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
[Yesterday], the US EPA Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:
The US Environmental Protection Agency today announced the next steps in a coordinated strategy to reduce emissions from ocean-going vessels. EPA is proposing a rule under the Clean Air Act that sets engine and fuel standards for U.S. flagged ships that would harmonize with international standards and are expected to lead to significant air quality improvements throughout the country, especially near ports.
“These emissions are contributing to health, environmental and economic challenges for port communities and others that are miles inland. Building on our work to form an international agreement earlier this year, we’re taking the next steps to reduce significant amounts of harmful pollution from getting into the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
There’s been a lot out there in the ether about how Waxman-Markey (and climate change legislation in general) has been a windfall for lobbyists, fighting both to keep the government’s hands off of utilities and others’ CO2 emissions on the status quo side and scrambling for the subsidies and other dollars on the green tech side.
The Washington Post (WaPo) opened just such a story this week with an anecdote about Rep Gene Green’s (D-TX) amendment changing the word “sources” to the words “emission points.” WaPo notes “that tiny bit of editing might one day give petroleum refiners valuable rights to emit carbon dioxide when it otherwise might not have been allowed.