The Environmental Protection Agency “unveiled a final rule on Thursday for regulating major emitters of greenhouse gases, like coal-fired power plants, under the Clean Air Act,” the New York Times reports.
Starting in July 2011, new sources of at least 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year and any existing plants that increase emissions by 75,000 tons will have to seek permits, the agency said.
In the first two years, the E.P.A. expects the rule to affect about 15,550 sources, including coal-fired plants, refineries, cement manufacturers, solid waste landfills and other large polluters, said Gina McCarthy, the agency’s assistant administrator.
She said the rule would apply to sites accounting for about 70 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. “We think this is smart rule-making, and we think it’s good government,” she said.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) offered this reaction in a press release:
"EPA’s rule carries an implicit recognition that its global warming regulations under the Clean Air Act will destroy thousands of jobs and punish small businesses all across the country," Senator Inhofe said. "EPA makes a legally feeble attempt to postpone the inevitable wave of regulations and energy taxes that will follow from its endangerment finding. The Supreme Court gave EPA a choice, and instead of protecting jobs and the economy, EPA decided it was better to make consumers, families, truckers, farmers, manufacturers, and any business that uses carbon-based energy pay more for gasoline, food, and just about everything else.
"What’s more, EPA’s legal basis for the rule rings hollow. The rule violates the Clean Air Act, and it won’t survive legal scrutiny. Even if the courts uphold the rule, EPA makes absolutely clear that commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and thousands of other small sources eventually will find themselves caught in the web of EPA’s global warming regime.
"In short, EPA is buying political time because it knows the political and practical consequences that will arise from its endangerment finding. The only way to stop EPA is for Congress to overturn that finding and provide certainty for employers so they can create jobs, expand their businesses, and get America on the path to economic recovery."
On the other side, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) offered this reaction in a press release:
“Today we went from ‘wake-up call’ to ‘last call’ on the urgency of Senate action on comprehensive energy and climate legislation. The Obama Administration has again reminded Washington that if Congress won’t legislate, the EPA will regulate,” said Sen. Kerry. “Those who have spent years stalling need to understand: killing a Senate bill is no longer success. And if Congress won’t legislate a solution, the EPA will regulate one, and it will come without the help to America’s business and consumers contained in the American Power Act. That’s why businesses that have opposed every previous piece of legislation are supporting this one because the American Power Act will create millions of new jobs, move us towards energy independence, strengthen our national security, and give us cleaner air at the same time. These groups and companies are doubling down on a clean energy economy because they understand this isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity, and we need to get it done this year.”
(credit image – getty)