Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Regulations

GHG emissions are regulated under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), Title V, and New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) programs.

First, the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v EPA clarified that GHGs are an “air pollutant” subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

Next, EPA’s Endangerment Finding determined that greenhouse gases may “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare.”

When the Tailpipe Rule set emission standards for cars and light trucks, GHG became a regulated pollutant. This necessitated the Timing and Tailoring Rules, which determined that only the largest stationary sources would initially be subject to permitting requirements.

Finally, the proposed GHG NSPS would force new coal-fired boilers to meet the same emissions levels as a natural gas-fired combined cycle turbine, essentially killing new coal plants.

Opposition to this series of rulemakings came to a head in a case decided June 26, 2012 by the D.C. Court of Appeals. The Petitioners challenged EPA on the rulings mentioned above as well as the fact that EPA did not conduct its own assessment of climate science but rather relied upon those conducted by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP), and the National Research Council (NRC). The Court rejected all of the objections and ruled firmly for EPA, using language that appears to scold the Petitioners for continuing their fight.  (Power Engineering, 8/1/2012)

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