Feb 16, 2015

New Draft Guidance Proposed by CEQ Encourages Climate Change Evaluation in Environmental Impact Statements

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on December 19 proposed updated guidance for assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CEQ has responsibility for providing guidance to federal agencies on compliance with NEPA’s environmental assessment requirements. The new proposed guidance updates CEQ’s 2010 draft guidance on how agencies should assess projects’ GHG impacts. The draft guidance for the first time includes guidance on the so-called “reverse environmental impact” assessment of the impacts of climate change on proposed projects. The draft also details how federal agencies should analyze and mitigate… Read more

Jan 16, 2015

EPA Proposes to Allow Biomass Energy as GHG Control

On November 19, EPA released a policy memo that allows states to rely on energy generated from “waste-derived and certain forest-derived industrial byproduct feedstocks” as tools for compliance with EPA’s proposed existing source performance standards (ESPS) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The memo announced that EPA will propose a rule exempting waste and “sustainably derived” biomass from best available control technology (BACT) requirements in stationary source permits, and will revise its prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) rules to “include an exemption from the [BACT] requirement for GHGs from waste-derived feedstocks and from non-waste biogenic feedstocks derived from sustainable forest or… Read more

Oct 6, 2014

Regional Grid Operators Consider a Price on Carbon

Regulations proposed by EPA under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for the control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing sources would require States to meet assigned GHG reduction targets by deadlines set forth in the proposed regulations. States can either submit individual plans for meeting those reductions or participate in regional plans. The operators of two of the largest electricity grids in the country are evaluating whether to approach the targets regionally within their territories by, among other things, studying whether imposing a price on GHG emissions within the region might be the most efficient way to… Read more

Apr 11, 2014

EPA Environmental Appeals Board Rejects Challenge to GHG Permit Limits

Sierra Club challenged as insufficient the permit limits for greenhouse gases (GHGs) imposed by EPA in a permit for a new natural gas-fired power plant issued for the La Paloma Energy Center. In re: La Paloma Energy Center.  On March 14, EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) rejected Sierra Club’s challenge and affirmed EPA’s use of a menu of GHG permit limits for the permittee to choose from, depending on the turbine model selected by the permittee. Rather than set a single permit limit based upon the best available control technology (BACT), EPA allowed the permittee to choose its GHG limit… Read more

Jan 10, 2011

Separate Reporting of Biomass GHG Emissions Required by EPA

U.S. EPA recently published a final rule reversing its prior position on reporting so-called biogenic GHG emissions–emissions created from burning plant-based fuels. Beginning this month, industries that are large emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), or those that are planning to build new facilities or make major modifications to existing ones, must obtain air permits and implement energy efficiency measures or, where available, cost-effective technology to reduce their GHGs emissions. In an earlier proposed rule, EPA did not require separate reporting of GHG emissions from biomass. Yet, on December 17, EPA released its final rule, which requires power plants that burn… Read more

Nov 17, 2010

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… Read more

Oct 5, 2010

More Challenges to EPA Greenhouse Gas Rulemaking

Beginning last December and continuing through this past May, EPA has issued four main rules regarding regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Since that time, more than 150 businesses, advocacy groups, trade associations and government entities have challenged EPA’s decision-making. With so many litigants involved, and with Senator Kerry announcing a climate bill is unlikely to be passed in the near future, it is becoming more likely that the nation’s climate policy will be shaped in the courtroom. The EPA rules being challenged in the courts include: (1) the December 2009 “endangerment finding,” where EPA determined GHGs are a threat… Read more

Sep 1, 2010

EPA Proposes Rules on Clean Air Act Permitting for GHG Emissions

In spring 2010, EPA finalized the Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) Tailoring Rule, which states that large industrial facilities and projects will require an air permit for their GHG emissions beginning in 2011. On August 12, 2010, EPA issued two proposed rules to address concerns that some states will not be ready to issue permits on January 2, 2011. In the first rule, EPA proposes to find that 13 states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas — have state implementation plans (SIP) that are “substantially inadequate” to meet CAA requirements. The plans are… Read more

Jul 13, 2010

As EPA Continues to Issue GHG Regulations, More Lawsuits Follow

Posted by Lisa Branch, On February 24, we noted that a number of lawsuits had been filed challenging EPA’s December 2009 determination that greenhouse gases (“GHG”s) endanger human health and welfare. This year, as EPA issues additional regulations and guidance governing GHGs, more lawsuits have followed. In March of 2010, EPA reconsidered the “Johnson Memorandum” relating to when pollutants are subject to regulation, thereby triggering Clean Air Act permitting programs. In its reconsideration decision, EPA explained that Prevention of Signification Deterioration (“PSD”) permitting for pollutants such as GHGs is triggered when the control requirements of a nationwide GHG rule… Read more