EPA Releases Greenhouse Gas Permitting Guidance

Last Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), published a set of guidance documents to assist state authorities and industry applicants with the Clean Air Act “prevention of significant deterioration” (PSD) and Title V permitting for sources of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

EPA has declared that GHGs are a danger to human health and the environment and must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. With the guidance, EPA seeks to reassure major emitters (the first group to be regulated) that impending regulation will not be too burdensome and that permitting decisions will take cost and technical feasibility into account.

The first round of permitting changes and regulations go into effect this coming January.

EPA has requested comments on the guidance, but asked that comments be confined to correction of technical or calculation errors or requests for clarifications. However, as reported by the NY Times, the American Petroleum Institute responded harshly to the announcement.

“The EPA is railroading job killing regulations onto states, localities and America’s businesses, during a time of uncertain economic recovery, without giving those affected adequate time to review, provide comments or even implement the new regulations,” said Howard Feldman, the oil lobby’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs.

The State of Texas has also said it will not abide by the greenhouse gas regulations no matter how EPA decides to define or enforce them.

Meanwhile, the European Union voted this week to tighten rules governing emissions from large industrial facilities to improve air, water and soil quality. The rules will require industrial plants to adopt stronger control standards for sulfur and nitrogen compounds, dust particles, asbestos and heavy metals.

For more information on EPA’s recent regulations, and compliance or applicability of the greenhouse gas permitting program, please contact Steve O’Day or Phillip Hoover.

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