[xtypo_dropcap]T[/xtypo_dropcap]he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will phase in a policy requiring permits for stationary sources that are increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by certain thresholds.
After a long debate, the EPA decided how to handle GHG emissions from power plants and oil refineries, which release 70 percent of the greenhouse gases from stationary sources, not vehicles.
The policies will start in January 2011 with the enforcement of permitting requirements for GHG for facilities that get Clean Air Act permits for other pollutants. Permits include information on which pollutants the facilities release, how much they can release, and what must be done to reduce the company’s pollution. Plans to measure and report the air pollution emitted are mandated.
By July 2011, permitting requirements will affect all new facilities with GHG emissions that exceed 100,000 tons per year (tpy), and modifications at existing facilities that emit at least 75,000 tpy.
According to the EPA press release, “Approximately 900 additional permitting actions covering new sources and modifications to existing sources would be subject to review each year.” At least 550 new sources will have to obtain permits for GHG emissions.
The policy came after what EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson called “extensive study, debate, and hundreds of thousands of public comments.” The agency held a 60-day public comment period, and got 450,000 comments.