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New EPA Rule to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Posted on October 1, 2009

The U.S. EPA announced in a keynote address at the California Governor’s Global Climate Summit that it has taken a significant step to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. They will announce a proposal requiring large industrial facilities that emit at least 25 000 tons of GHGs a year to obtain construction and operating permits covering these emissions. These permits must demonstrate the use of best available control technologies and energy efficiency measures to minimize GHG emissions when facilities are constructed or significantly modified. These large facilities would include power plants, refineries, and factories. Small businesses such as farms, restaurants and many other types of small facilities would not be included in these requirements.

If the proposed fuel-economy rule to regulate GHGs from cars and trucks is finalized and takes effect in the spring of 2010, Clean Air Act permits would automatically be required for stationary sources emitting GHGs. This proposed rule focuses these permitting programs on the largest facilities, responsible for nearly 70% of U.S. stationary source greenhouse gas emissions.

With the proposed emissions thresholds, EPA estimates that 400 new sources and modifications to existing sources would be subject to review each year for GHG emissions. In total, approximately 14 000 large sources would need to obtain operating permits that include GHG emissions. Most of these sources are already subject to clean air permitting requirements because they emit other pollutants.

The proposed tailoring rule addresses a group of six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

For more information: www.epa.gov

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