Posts Tagged ‘tailoring rule’

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a 100-page proposal, the “PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases” for public review and feedback in mid-November, providing two weeks  for responses by a Dec. 1 deadline. Finalized terms will be put in place by Jan. 2, 2011, in accordance with an implementing “Tailoring Rule” to guide state-level permitting authorities and extend the EPA’s influence over the greenhouse gas emissions of industrial sectors.  Click here to see a copy of the rule and EPA factsheets on the issue.

Operating through permitting authority asserted under the Clean Air Act, the agency will now require CO2 emissions to be considered in the design of every major project in which fossil fuel is combusted or CO2 emissions are released. Included are electrical power generation, refineries, iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills and cement production.

Effective July 1, 2011, any new source of greenhouse gas emissions that exceeds 100,000 tons of CO2 per year or plant modification adding 75,000 tons annually, will be subject to permit approval based upon currently undefined case-by-case “best available control technology” assessments.

Some background information
In an April 2, 2007, Supreme Court case (Massachusetts v. EPA), the court ruled in a split 5-4 decision that greenhouse gasses fit within the definition of “air pollutants” and subsequently the EPA issued a finding of public health or welfare endangerment.

On Dec. 7, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed two distinct findings. One was an “Endangerment Finding,” which found that current and projected atmospheric concentrations of six greenhouse gases (including CO2) “threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” A second “Cause or Contribute Finding” found that “combined emissions of these well-mixed [greenhouse gases] from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.”

On April 1 the EPA finalized a light-duty vehicle rule controlling greenhouse gas emissions, confirming that Jan. 2, 2011, is the earliest date that a 2012 model year vehicle meeting established limits can be sold in the U.S. Then on Oct. 25 the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a proposed rule to establish the first-ever greenhouse emission and economy standards for heavy-duty trucks that will phase in during model years 2014 to 2018 arguing that improved fuel efficiency growing out of this ruling will save the trucking industry money.

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At a time when in much of the US we are facing the most significant heat waves in decades, global temperature averages have shown 2010 to be the hottest year ever in recorded history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Climactic Data Center just released its most comprehensive report on climate change which may as well have been called “It’s Real and It’s Here: NOW!”, and droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires are causing Armageddon-like conditions around Moscow, causing even the global warming denying Russian government to capitulate to the scientific consensus…..  Even with all of that, it would seem like an odd time for the state of Texas to send a shot across the EPA’s bow, insulting them and goading them into a fight over Texas carbon emissions and the Clean Air Act.

But yet they have.

Monday August 2nd the state of Texas sent a letter to the EPA (original can be downloaded here) informing them that we would no longer be complying with the Clean Air Act, specifically provisions relating to the regulation of greenhouse gases.  This letter signed by Attorney General Greg Abbott and TCEQ Commissioner Bryan Shaw is full of bluster and short on reasoned legal arguments with any real merit.

Famous painting of Ukrainian Cossacks writing a triumphant and bawdy letter to the Turkish Sultan after the Cossacks defeated his army

What it really remind me of is one of my favorite paintings, Запорожцы пишут письмо турецкому султану or, Zaprozhe Cossacks Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan by Ilya Repin.  (For comparison’s sake, I would highly recommend following that link to read the text of the Cossack’s letter– it has language saltier than anything else I’ve heard this side of South Park)  I just can’t help think of the unabashed joy that must’ve coursed through the veins of the Atty General and TCEQ Commissioner as they drafted this, using phrases like (more…)

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