From Bush to Obama: Regulating GHG Emissions

Last July, the Bush EPA issued A Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPR) on regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that carbon dioxide should be considered a pollutant. Yet, on December 18, 2008, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson issued a memo declaring that EPA would not limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Yet, last month Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stated that EPA would reconsider that memo.

Accordingly, last week and in a sweeping departure from the Bush administration, the EPA issued a new ANPR, specifically requiring mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from large sources. If enacted into law, the rule would require about 13,000 facilities across the U.S. to report their emissions. The proposed rule covers manufacturers of chemicals, oil, cement, iron and steel, and automobiles, among other industries.

The EPA estimates that the ANPR will cover 85 percent to 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and will cost the industry $160 million in the first year, falling to $127 million a year after that.

The gases covered by the proposed rule include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases, such as nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

There will be a 60-day public comment period. A link to the proposed rule is available here.

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