The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

EPA's GHG Regulations Should Be Delayed

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 2, 2010

In mid-November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took another step toward its plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources starting Jan. 2. It issued documents, commonly known as the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) guidance, for state and local permitting programs charged with regulating GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act.

API has reviewed the BACT guidance and is calling it "inadequate."

"The EPA continues to foist job-killing rules and regulations onto states, localities and America's businesses during this particularly vulnerable time for our economy," said API's Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman. "Despite imposing significant and unprecedented greenhouse gas permitting requirements beginning on January 2, 2011, EPA has waited until the eleventh hour before offering this inadequate guidance without allowing for proper notice, comment and response."

In comments submitted to the EPA yesterday, API wrote:

  • EPA provided a comment period of only 14 days and stated that it does not intend to respond to comments. "This is unlawful...[it must] provide a full-length comment period of at least 30 days and respond to the comments it receives."
  • Twenty-one "of the 99 permitting jurisdictions will likely face permitting gridlock...EPA's regulations will impose a construction ban or de facto freeze...in more than a fifth of the country."
  • The guidance allows permitting authorities "essentially unlimited" power to tell a business or manufacturer to switch fuels, even if the operations have equipment designed to use a particular fuel and other fuels are not readily available. "EPA needs to clearly state, without equivocation, that requiring a switch in fuels constitutes an improper redefinition of a source and is prohibited."

API believes the BACT guidance "is too late and deeply flawed." EPA should delay the regulatory requirements and rethink its guidance documents.

Several members of the U.S. House have similar concerns over the proposed GHG regulations. Yesterday they attempted to pull funding for EPA's GHG regulations from a stopgap funding measure, but their efforts were stymied at the committee level. A spending bill was passed in a 239-178 vote, allowing federal funding to remain at fiscal 2010 levels through Dec. 18. (Platts)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.