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EPA formally announces phase-in of Clean Air Act permitting for greenhouse gases (3/30)

March 30, 2010
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Under a final decision issued by EPA no stationary sources will be required to get Clean Air Act permits that cover greenhouse gases (GHGs) before January 2011, according to an agency press statement.

EPA has pledged to take sensible steps to address the billions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution that threaten Americans’ health and welfare, and is providing time for large industrial facilities and state governments to put in place cost-effective, innovative technologies to control and reduce carbon pollution, according to the agency.

“This is a common sense plan for phasing in the protections of the Clean Air Act. It gives large facilities the time they need to innovate, governments the time to prepare to cut greenhouse gases and it ensures that we don’t push this problem off to our children and grandchildren,” said EPA Administrator Jackson. “With a clear process in place, it’s now time for American innovators and entrepreneurs to go to work and lead us into the clean energy economy of the future.”

EPA’s action determines that Clean Air Act construction and operating permit requirements for the largest emitting facilities will begin when the first national rule controlling GHGs takes effect. If finalized as proposed, the rule limiting GHG emissions for cars and light trucks would trigger these requirements in January 2011 – the earliest model year 2012 vehicles meeting the standards can be sold in the United States. The agency expects to issue final vehicle GHG standards shortly.

EPA has committed to focusing its GHG permitting requirements on the largest sources. The agency will make a decision later this spring on the amount of GHGs facilities can emit before having to include limits for these emissions in their permits.

EPA’s action is the final step in EPA’s reconsideration of the December 18, 2008 memorandum entitled “EPA’s Interpretation of Regulations that Determine Pollutants Covered by Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit Program.” The final action clarifies when GHGs and other pollutants are covered under Clean Air Act permitting programs.

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