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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OMB Reviewing EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing the EPA's greenhouse gas rules as the Obama administration tries to balance global atmospheric protection with economic considerations. Former President Bush addressed this dilemma by proposing an 'intensity' program within a voluntary greenhouse gas reduction program. It tried to peg reductions to economic indicators. It was dismissed and now EPA is considering mandatory reductions in the absence of Congressional legislation.

The rule, utilitzing Clean Air Act authority, targets facilities that emit more than 75,000 to 100,000 tons of carbon-dioxide a year starting in 2011. Yet, the Clean Air Act requires a threshold of 100 to 250 tons for facilities and would include millions of sources. The Obama administration got around this conundrum by utilizing the New Source Review (NSR) section of the Clean Air Act and using a tailoring rule that applies to new facilities or major modifications at existing facilities. The tailoring approach would allow states to build up their regulatory capability. According to EPA, about two-thirds of the stationary-source emissions are from facilities emitting more than 100,000 tons per year. (WSJ, 4/21/10)

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