October 8, 2009

EPA proposes new rules under CAA to reduce GHGs

Last week, EPA announced a proposal that is focused on large facilities emitting over 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year. These facilities would be required to obtain permits that would demonstrate they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions.

The rule proposes new thresholds for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that define when Clean Air Act (CAA) permits under the New Source Review (NSR) and title V operating permits programs would be required for new or existing industrial facilities.

The proposed thresholds would “tailor” the permit programs to limit which facilities would be required to obtain NSR and title V permits and would cover nearly 70 percent of the national GHG emissions that come from stationary sources, including those from the nation’s largest emitters—including power plants, refineries, and cement production facilities.

Small farms, restaurants and many other types of small facilities would not be subject to these permitting programs.

Under the proposed emissions thresholds, EPA estimates that 400 new sources and modifications would be subject to PSD review each year for GHG emissions. Less than 100 of these would be newly subject to PSD. In total, approximately 14,000 large sources would need to obtain operating permits for GHG emissions under the operating permits program. About 3,000 of these sources would be newly subject to CAA operating permit requirements as a result of this action. The majority of these sources are expected to be municipal solid waste landfills.

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