EPA aims to cut emissions at factories, power plants

This is a great way to bypass cap-and-trade. Even if it (Waxman-Markey) doesn’t pass, the EPA can rule that CO2 is a pollutant and create permissible limits. Too bad that CO2 isn’t a pollutant, but instead is part of the cycle of life.

From USAToday:
By Traci Watson, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — For the first time, the federal government plans to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions from factories, power plants and other industrial facilities under a proposal revealed Wednesday.The proposed rule requires new facilities and those undergoing major maintenance to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions using the “best available” technology. That might include energy-efficiency steps or equipment under development to capture greenhouse gases and funnel them into storage.

“We are not going to continue with business as usual any longer. We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them,” said Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA would oversee the rule.

The EPA’s plan “will grind economic growth to a halt in cities and communities across America,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., an opponent of climate-change action.

The industrial sector is responsible for about one-third of the U.S. output of greenhouse gases, which build up in the atmosphere and trap heat. The primary greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, produced when coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels are burned.

The proposal would take effect after the administration finalizes its rules for restricting greenhouse gases from vehicles. That’s scheduled for next spring.

The proposal was announced on the same day that a bill to slow climate change was introduced in the Senate. The Senate bill faces an uphill climb to passage, but the EPA plan adds another possible route to restricting emissions.

The dual announcements Wednesday mean that “the question shifts from whether the government will act and clean up corporate pollution to how it will be done,” said Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation, an environmental group.

The announcement marks a “seismic shift,” said Vickie Patton of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Jackson said the proposal exempts small businesses and farms from having to reduce their greenhouse gases. Only facilities that emit more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year would be subject to the rule. That standard means that the regulation would apply to roughly 14,000 U.S. facilities accounting for nearly 70% of the global-warming emissions from sources other than vehicles, the EPA says.

Charles Drevna, head of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said his group may sue the EPA. The proposal would make the nation “much less energy secure,” he said.

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