Yes, I do believe it is a coincidence of timing. But even so…
On the very day that Senator Barbara Boxer announced she was delaying introduction of her long-awaited climate bill, the White House began review of the first EPA proposed rules that would apply greenhouse gas requirements to big smokestack industries under the Clean Air Act.
We welcome this proposal and encourage the Obama administration to move ahead. We can’t just sit, wait and hope for Senate action some day. The climate clock is ticking.
This proposal is a part of EPA’s response to the big 2007 Supreme Court ruling on global warming. These requirements, like planned standards for motor vehicles, would not take effect before EPA issues a final “endangerment” finding. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that decision would be made within the next few months. EPA appears to be getting its ducks in a row.
See below from an executive branch website. It notes that the White House Office of Management and Budget yesterday began review of proposed EPA greenhouse gas requirements. (The ever-alert Matt Madia of OMB Watch was the first person I’m aware of to flag this item.) The item has a fairly obscure title:
“Prevention of Significant Deterioration/Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule.” And, no, we don’t think this involves inseams or sleeve lengths. “Tailoring,” in this context, probably refers to an attempt to limit the requirements to very large sources of greenhouse gas emissions such as coal-burning electric power plants. (Limiting the requirements to big pollution sources would counter the scaremongering charges by the US Chamber of Commerce, which has alleged that EPA would regulate mom-and-pop stores, donut shops, etc.)
As we understand it, this proposal would be an attempt to put requirements on facilities that emit 25,000 tons or more a year of carbon dioxide. It would require new and modified sources of pollution at that size or greater to use the best available control technology to limit greenhouse gases.
This plan would be an obvious reversal of the Bush administration’s hands-off policy. In December 2008, then-EPA chief Stephen Johnson issued a memo which declared that carbon dioxide was not a regulated pollutant and that EPA did not has authority to limit emissions or require the best possible technology through the “prevention of significant deterioration” requirements of the Clean Air Act. EPA is reconsidering that memo in response to a petition from our friends with Sierra Club.
Here is the link:
AGENCY: EPA-AR RIN: 2060-AP86
TITLE: Prevention of Significant Deterioration/Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule
STAGE: Proposed Rule ECONOMICALLY SIGNIFICANT: No
** RECEIVED DATE: 08/31/2009 LEGAL DEADLINE: None