Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kerry & Jackson Soft-Pedaling Climate Legislation & Regs?

Kate Sheppard writes in Mother Jones - "Climate Bill: Outlook Cloudy" about the 9-page Kerry Climate Change talking document:

Under the senators' plan, the cap would only apply to facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. That covers about 14,000 industrial pollution sources across the country, like coal-fired power plants and cement manufacturers, but not smaller sources like hospitals or most agricultural operations. (Utilities would be regulated in 2012; rules for other major sources would be phased from 2016 onwards.) The bill would also reportedly remove two of the strongest governmental tools for improving on federal carbon rules: It would strip the EPA's ability to restrict greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and would also halt more ambitious state programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
If it is not economy wide, it will stifle the very innovation that could excite our international colleagues and keep the planet at or below 350 ppm. We also do not understand why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cannot see that economy wide legislation would lead to incredible entrepreneurial jobs opportunities. The Center is salivating at the prospect of having the opportunity to buy, sell, hold and trade GHG allowances and offsets (see CMX). Also, 'anyone' should be eligible to hold and trade the allowances and offsets. Senator Kerry's reported proposal obviates the small business engine that could drive innovation to the big boys.

Moreover, in a letter to senators, EPA stated that it is considering modifying and delaying its GHG regs:

EPA is also considering a modification to the rule announced in September requiring large facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to obtain permits demonstrating they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions. EPA is considering raising that threshold substantially to reflect input provided during the public comment process. · EPA does not intend to subject smaller facilities to Clean Air Act permitting for greenhouse gas emissions any sooner than 2016.
And at a Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on EPA's FY 2011 Budget EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that it will set an initial stage of stationary-source greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions threshold of at least 75,000 tons a year—and possibly more than 100,000 tons a year—for power plants and other industrial projects for the regulations between 2011 to 2012.

In our opinion, the EPA plan and the Kerry plan are woefully inadequate in appropriately addressing climate change mitigation. It would be better to leave the state plans alone if EPA and Congress are unwilling to implement an economy wide program.

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