EPA releases new emissions rule details

By Kris Bevill | February 09, 2010
Posted March 3, 2010

U.S. EPA Administrator released more details today on expected changes to the agency's proposed Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, which is to be finalized later this month.

During her testimony before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, Jackson said it is likely that the initial threshold for GHG emissions from stationary sources will be raised from 25,000 tons per year, as currently proposed, to 100,000 tons per year. Jackson also reiterated that the agency plans to push back the start date for stationary source compliance from March until January 2011. The higher threshold will mean that most ethanol producers would not be affected by the EPA requirements until possibly 2016.

Jackson said the changes to the EPA's tailoring rule are largely in response to the more than 500,000 comments it received in response to its proposal. According to Jackson, many states submitted comments stressing that they want to become involved in GHG regulation, but it will require more time and resources. "That's why the [fiscal year 2011 EPA] budget includes $25 million in resources for states," she said. Jackson added the states' need for more planning time is also the reason for the EPA's plan to phase-in lower GHG emission thresholds, "starting with what we call ‘anyway' sources - sources that need a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit no matter what - and then moving to the very largest sources … phasing in sources so that over time you move to regulation of a larger universe."

While the rule is yet to be finalized, Jackson's testimony today served as a strong indicator that the GHG emissions threshold will be raised to 100,000 tons per year beginning in 2011. In 2013, the threshold will be lowered to 50,000 tons per year. The threshold for the "smaller sources" of emissions is likely to be set at 25,000 tons per year and those sources are not expected to become regulated until 2016.

Based on information provided by Jackson at the hearing and in a letter written to several Senators on Feb. 22, approximately 400 facilities would face GHG emissions regulation during the first half of 2011. The number of permits the EPA expects to review for GHG emissions is anticipated to increase by 1,700 for the second half of the year as it phases in regulatory requirements. By 2013, an additional 3,000 sources would be affected by the EPA's regulation.

Jackson could not offer specific source categories that would be affected by the updated emissions thresholds, but said that 67 percent of U.S. stationary source emissions come from sources that emit more than 100,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e); 70 percent of emissions come from sources that emit more than 50,000 tons per year of CO2e; and 75 percent come from sources that emit more than 25,000 tons per year of CO2e.

Originally posted at Industrial GHG Solutions