EPA Sets New Rules for Big Polluters Spewing Greenhouse Gases

May 14, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Finally, a year after the EPA made a finding that greenhouse gases threatened our health, by polluting the air we breathe, the agency set new rules for big polluters. Starting in July of next year, major carbon emitters, including coal-fired plants and oil refineries will be required to obtain a federal permit. The new rules were announced, as the Senate unveiled a comprehensive energy bill, without Republican support that has little chance of passing.

The EPA’s announcement stressed the importance of protecting our planet for future generations:

“After extensive study, debate and hundreds of thousands of public comments, EPA has set common-sense thresholds for greenhouse gases that will spark clean technology innovation and protect small businesses and farms,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “There is no denying our responsibility to protect the planet for our children and grandchildren. It’s long past time we unleashed our American ingenuity and started building the efficient, prosperous clean energy economy of the future.”

Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA, pointed out that the new rules would cover new instances of 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year, and existing sources increasing emissions by 75,000 tons

“In the first two years, the E.P.A. expects to issue about 550 permits covering the coal-fired plants, refineries, cement manufacturers, solid waste landfills and other large polluters. She said that the rule would apply to sites accounting for about 70 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. “We think this is smart rule-making and we think it’s good government,” said McCarthy.

With congress unable to agree on an energy and climate bill, the new EPA rules are the nation’s only weapon to combat the deadly effects of climate change. According to The NY Times, “The Obama administration made clear last year that the finding was intended to goad Congress into superseding the agency and adopting emissions limits of its own.”

But in a toxic political climate with obstructionist Republicans blocking every initiative proposed by Democratic lawmakers and President Obama, it’s unlikely an energy bill could make it through Congress.

And the powerful energy lobby is strongly opposed to the EPA regulating carbon emissions. And a slew of Republican global warming deniers and think tanks have filed lawsuits against the EPA, to stop the new regulations.

One of big oil’s favorite lawmakers, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), has even sponsored a measure to deprive the EPA of the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Murkowski contends regulating the industry would harm the economy.

Dirty air, a poisoned environment and the devastating effects of global warming are apparently not a concern to big oil lawmakers like Murkowski.


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