Under a final decision issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no stationary sources will be required to obtain Clean Air Act permits that cover greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions before January 2011.
The EPA says it has pledged to take sensible steps to address the billions of tons of GHG emissions that are emitted and is providing time for large industrial facilities and state governments to put in place cost-effective, innovative technologies to control and reduce carbon pollution.
‘This is a commonsense plan for phasing in the protections of the Clean Air Act. It gives large facilities the time they need to innovate, governments the time to prepare to cut GHGs and ensures that we don't push this problem off to our children and grandchildren,’ says EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. ‘With a clear process in place, it's now time for American innovators and entrepreneurs to go to work and lead us into the clean energy economy of the future.’
The EPA's action determines that Clean Air Act construction and operating permit requirements for the highest-emitting facilities will begin when the first national rule controlling GHGs takes effect. If finalized as proposed, the rule limiting GHG emissions for cars and light trucks would trigger these requirements in January 2011 – the earliest that model-year 2012 vehicles meeting the standards can be sold in the U.S. The agency expects to issue final vehicle GHG standards shortly.
The EPA has committed to focusing its GHG permitting requirements on the largest sources. The agency will make a decision later this spring on the amount of GHGs facilities can emit before having to include limits for these emissions in their permits.