Tag Archives: greenhouse gas

EPA’s new directions on greenhouse gas emissions

In a recent letter to several senators, EPA Administrator made the following comments about the agency’s directions on greenhouse gas:

No facility will be required to address greenhouse gas emissions in Clean Air Act permitting of new construction or modifications before 2011.

For the first half of 2011, only facilities that already must apply for Clean Air Act permits as a result of their non-greenhouse gas emissions will need to address their greenhouse gas emissions in their permit applications.

EPA is also considering a modification to the rule announced in September requiring large facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to obtain permits demonstrating they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions. EPA is considering raising that threshold substantially to reflect input provided during the public comment process.

EPA does not intend to subject smaller facilities to Clean Air Act permitting for greenhouse gas emissions any sooner than 2016.


EPA’s New Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

The final rule was signed by the Administrator on September 22, 2009. On October 30, 2009, the  final rule was published in the Federal Register (www.regulations.gov) under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0508-2278.  The rule went into effect December 29, 2009.

Under this new rule,  suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions are required to submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

Facilities need to start collect data on January 1, 2010 and the first emission report is due March 31, 2011. There are special provisions in 40 CFR 98 for some companies in 2010.

The complete regulation (all 261 pages of it) can be downloaded here. A much shorter version (press release) is here.

EPA’s endangerment findings on greenhouse gas

As expected, EPA will be announcing today its final endangerment findings that greenhouse gas is harmful to public health. This is a followup to  recent Supreme Court ruling that directed EPA to make a determination on the public health impact of greenhouse gas.

This ruling gives EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas under the Clean Air Act.

EPA gets ready to regulate greenhouse gas

air pollution8On September 30, 2009, EPA announced a proposal that is focused on large facilities emitting over 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year. These facilities would be required to obtain permits that would demonstrate they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions.

The rule proposes new thresholds for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that define when Clean Air Act (CAA) permits under the New Source Review (NSR) and title V operating permits programs would be required for new or existing industrial facilities.  Click here for a copy of EPA’s fact sheet on this latest regulatory proposal.

The NSR will trigger the need for PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) permits for new source or major modification in attainment areas.

Some observers have noted that this EPA step is a strategic move to motivate industries to lobby the Senate for a Climate Change Bill. Many in industry would prefer to be regulated under a new Climate Change Bill than under the Clean Air Act.

Global warming – is it a hoax?

girl thinking- iStockEver since I posted articles on the topic of greenhouse gas, I have been receiving some pretty interesting emails. I have responded to some here and I have also deleted some because they were more like rants than comments.

 One reader who used a manual typewriter and mailed in his letter (rant) to my editor at Pollution Engineering claimed that global warming is all but a hoax perpetuated by Al Gore and the liberals. Another said that the Supreme Court was made up of a “bunch of stupid lawyers” and that the scientists at EPA sold out to their political masters. I can go on but I won’t.

Here is the real scoop as I can best figure out. 

Several years ago, a number of states filed a lawsuit against the Bush EPA for failing to regulate CO2 emissions from cars. The Bush EPA’s position was that it did not have the authority to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act. The Appellate Court in Washington DC sided with EPA. The states appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

The landmark Supreme Court case (Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al. No. 05–1120) was decided on April 2, 2007.

Here is what the court said:

CO2 is an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act because §7602(g) of the Act defines “air pollutant” as “any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical . . . substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air . . . .”  The Court told EPA that since CO2 is a pollutant, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate it IF it finds that CO2 impacts “public health and welfare”.

The Court reminded the Bush EPA that the purpose of the Clean Air Act as mandated by Congress is to “protect and enhance the quality of Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population.” The law further defines the term “effects on welfare” to include “effects on soils, water, crops, vegetation, man-made materials, animals, wildlife, weather, visibility, and climate…..”

So EPA’s responsibility and obligation under the Act are quite clear.

For those inclined on conspiracies who claim that the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court and EPA are part of a liberal conspiracy to dream up climate change as a hoax on humanity, I only need to remind them that the Clean Air Act was signed into law in 1990 by a Republican President – George H.W. Bush. He could have vetoed it but he didn’t. Majority of the justices on the Supreme Court that ruled on this case were appointed by Republican presidents. Even the Bush EPA admitted that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It just didn’t want to regulate it.

So what is now before the EPA is very simple. If it finds that CO2 endangers “public health and welfare”, it has no choice but to regulate it. It is the law of the land as demanded by the Clean Air Act and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court.

By the way – for those of you who may be impressed by pedigree: The U.S. National Academy of Science believes in global warming too! It is asking for quicker response to deal with the problem. Perhaps it is part of the conspiracy too?

I seriously doubt it.

Greenhouse Gas bill passed!

Breaking News: The House of Representatives passed the Greenhouse Gas Bill tonight by a very close vote of 219 for and 212 against. Now it is the Senate’s turn to enact a similar bill.

Stay tuned.

Greenhouse Gas Bill to go before the House of Representatives

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Greenhouse Gas bill this week and it is expected to pass. The US Department of Agriculture will be involved in the management of greenhouse gas from farmlands.

The Senate is expected to take up similar measures. The two senate committees involved are the Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by Senator Jeff Bingaman D-NM and the Environment and Public Works Committee chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer D-Calif. It is not certain that a greenhouse bill will get passed in the Senate. It will be close.