Moyer Talks with Compliance Week About New EPA Regulations
“More EPA Regulations of Greenhouse Gases”Compliance Week
May 25, 2010 – Compliance Week magazine turned to Manatt’s Craig A. Moyer, chair of the firm’s Land, Energy & Environment Division, for commentary on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) newly published rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on high emitting industrial facilities, as part of their continuing effort to address climate change.
The new rules require facilities that release at least 75,000 tons, up from a proposed 25,000 tons, of greenhouse gasses annually to obtain operating and construction permits that cover those emissions. The higher threshold will now apply to only the largest emitters, such as power plants and oil refineries, that are responsible for nearly 70 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s very important to remember this is just the beginning,” Moyer told Compliance Week. “History shows that after plucking the low-hanging fruit, the EPA will seek further regulation of smaller sources.”
The EPA has announced that it will next consider whether to regulate emission sources of less than 50,000 tons per year, though such sources would not be regulated until 2016, if at all.
The EPA will roll out the requirements in a two-phase process. First facilities that already obtain Clean Air Act permits for “priority” pollutants will be required to obtain permits for greenhouse gasses, as long as those emissions increase by a minimum of 75,000 tons per year.
The second phase, will expand to cover all new facilities that emit more than 100,000 tons per year, or existing facilities that make alterations that increase emissions by 75,000 tons per year. Launching new facilities that emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses will be “much more difficult,” Moyer told Compliance Week.
According to the EPA, these new rules will cover roughly 900 additional permitting actions for new and modified facilities and 550 new facilities, such as waste management, would be new to the program.
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