The US Environmental Protection Agency recently issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas emission restrictions for the nation’s biggest polluters under the Clean Air Act. The restrictions are scheduled to take effect in 2012.
The announcement from EPA comes on the heels of a lawsuit brought against the EPA by several states, local governments, and environmental organizations over the agency’s failure to provide updated pollution standards for petroleum refineries and fossil fuel power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
The Clean Air Act, one of many pieces of legislation which seeks to reduce air pollution, requires that the EPA set industry-specific standards for any new source of pollution as well as periodically updating standards to keep pace with developments in control technology.
Oil refinery in Washington. Photo by Walter Siegmund
“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.”
In early 2011 the EPA will be soliciting feedback and gathering data with which to define the restrictions. The standards will be proposed for power plants in July, 2011 and for refineries in December, 2011, with final standards taking effect for power plants in May, 2012 and for refineries in November, 2012.