Thursday, December 23, 2010

The EPA sends Eli a Christmas gift

The US Environmental Protection Agency, has announced new regulations for CO2 emissions from power generating facilities

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing the final series of actions that will ensure that the largest industrial facilities can get Clean Air Act permits that cover greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions beginning in January 2011. These actions are part of EPA’s common sense approach to GHG permitting outlined in the spring 2010 tailoring rule.

The first set of actions will give EPA authority to permit GHGs in seven states (Ariz., Ark., Fla., Idaho, Kan., Ore., and Wyo.) until the state or local agencies can revise their permitting regulations to cover these emissions. EPA is taking additional steps to disapprove part of Texas' Clean Air Act permitting program and the agency will also issue GHG permits to facilities in the state. These actions will ensure that large industrial facilities will be able to receive permits for greenhouse gas emissions regardless of where they are located.
Well, that's the good news, slightly less good is the second part
In the second set of actions, EPA has issued final rules that will ensure that there are no federal laws in place that require any state to issue a permit for GHG emissions below levels outlined in the tailoring rule.
Where this leaves California is another question. Perhaps what this means is that other EPA regulation which would have forced lower limits in certain air pollution districts cannot be used to limit them, but that the states can proceed on their own
EPA has worked closely with the states to ensure that the transition to permitting for GHGs is smooth. States are best suited to issue permits to sources of GHG emissions and have experience working with industrial facilities. EPA will continue to work with states to help develop, submit, and obtain approval of the necessary revisions to enable the affected states to issue air permits to GHG-emitting sources.

Beginning in January 2011, industries that are large emitters of GHGs, and are planning to build new facilities or make major modifications to existing ones, must obtain air permits and implement energy efficiency measures or, where available, cost-effective technology to reduce their GHGs emissions. This includes the nation's largest GHG emitters, such as power plants, refineries and cement production facilities. Emissions from small sources, such as farms and restaurants are not covered by these GHG permitting requirements.
Some time ago, Eli pointed out that Congressional action would actually be weaker than what the EPA would do given Supreme Court rulings. Listen to Eli.

New rules that were issued are
The most important of these will be rules focusing GHG permitting initially on the largest sources
Still, Eli is quite satisfied with the first four, given that a Congress critter from Texas denigrated Rabett Run, as reported by FOB Joe Romm

FLORES: Absolutely, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to get on Natural Resources is it puts me in the position, not my full jurisdiction over the EPA but I do have some jurisdiction there. I can tell you the House as a whole, the Republicans in the House as a whole want to get the EPA shut down on these bunny trails that’s going down that are throwing people out of work — particularly the way it’s abusing Texas. And I think that Texas can count on getting some relief from the EPA within the first few months of this Congress because they really have gone overboard.

Eli and friends are quite fond of those bunny trails, and suspects that the Obama administration just blew Rep. Flores and Texas a giant strawberry.

The permitting rule itself runs something like this
On May 13, 2010, EPA issued the final GHG Tailoring Rule. This rule effectively raised the thresholds for GHG emissions that define when permits under the PSD and Title V Operating Permit programs are required for new and existing industrial facilities. Without the GHG Tailoring Rule, the thresholds established in the CAA for other pollutants would apply to GHGs. The phased in approach, established in the Tailoring Rule, provides time for large industrial facilities and state governments to develop the capacity to implement permitting requirements for GHGs.
Importantly it takes effect immediately, before Congress can take inaction
  • Starting in January 2011, large industrial facilities that must already obtain Clean Air Act permits for non-GHGs must also include GHG requirements in these permits if they are newly constructed and have the potential to emit 75,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more or if they make changes at the facility that increase GHG emissions by that amount.
  • Starting in July 2011, in addition to facilities described above, all new facilities emitting GHGs in excess of 100,000 tons of per year CO2e and facilities making changes that would increase GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy CO2e, and that also exceed 100/250 tons per year of GHGs on a mass basis, will be required to obtain permits that address GHG emissions
  • Operating permits will be needed by all sources that emit at least 100,000 tons of GHG per year on a CO2e basis beginning in July 2011.
  • Sources less than 50,000 tons of GHGs per year on a CO2e basis will not be required to obtain permits for GHGs before 2016.


Anonymous said...

The EPA may have given a nice Christmas present but the new Republican House and virtual Republican senate are guaranteed to "keep on taking."

It would be a surprise if EPA's new rules remained in effect for any appreciable length of time, plump strawberries aside, without veto support from Mr Pathological Bipartisanship.

The "harm to the economy" argument is going to be difficult to brush aside, during the Second Great Depression, despite the fact that equally idiotic policies of those making the argument caused the current economic wasteland.

John Puma

EliRabett said...

Think of it as a strong marker. The TX stuff is a bitch slap to the Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Do little bunnies actually enjoy tyranny?

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonymous, Tyranny? Dude, you really need to get out more. Talk about frigging alarmist!