EPA Intends To Phase In Proposed GHG Emissions Regulations

In response to eight Democratic senators' concerns about economic and security issues relating to potential regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a letter that announced expected modifications to pending EPA proposals, according to Vinson & Elkins LLP.

According to the letter, the EPA expects to take actions to ensure that no stationary source will be required to get a CAA permit to cover GHG emissions this year.

Permit requirements and GHG regulations for large stationary sources will be phased in beginning in 2011. In the first half of 2011, only those facilities that already must apply for CAA permits as a result of non-GHG emissions will need to address emissions in permit applications, the letter states.

In addition, the EPA expects that GHG emissions from other large sources will phase in, beginning later in 2011. Between this time and 2013, the threshold for permitting is expected to be substantially higher than the 25,000-ton limit that the EPA originally proposed. The agency does not intend to subject the smallest sources to CAA permitting for GHG emissions any sooner than 2016.

These changes reflect a relaxation of the EPA's previous position regarding when sources' GHG emissions would require CAA authorization.

SOURCES: Vinson & Elkins LLP, John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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