The U.S. EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) made a decision on Nov 13th that could stop the construction of up to 100 new coal-fired power plants around the U.S. In July 2007, the EPA issued a permit for a proposed Bonanza coal-fired power plant in Utah. Lawyers for the Sierra Club, Western Resource Advocates, and Environmental Defense filed a request that the permit be overturned because it did not require any controls on carbon dioxide pollution. Mainstream environmental groups noted the Supreme Court's April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which found that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
The EAB ruled that the Bush administration failed to offer a good reason for not regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from the proposed Bonanza plant. The board remanded the permit request to the regional EPA office in Denver, saying it should reconsider whether the best available pollution controls for CO2 should be required, and stressing that it must adequately explain its decision. The Obama EPA will now have to determine how to treat greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Ultimately, Congress will need to write climate change legislation to regulate carbon dioxide. EPA will only conclude that there is no Best Available Control Technology. (Grist)