U.S. EPA`s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Standards for the Utility Industry - How Powerful Are They?

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Courtesy of All4 Inc.

A major event in the Climate Change arena occurred on March 27, 2012 when, for the first time, U.S. EPA proposed Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources (NSPS) for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).  The proposed standards were specific to new affected fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units (EGUs) and were the direct result of two (2) settlement agreements proposed concurrently by U.S. EPA on December 30, 2010.  The settlement agreements were proposed in order to resolve threatened litigation filed by numerous states concerning February 2006 amendments to 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart Da (Standards of Performance for Electric Utility Steam Generating Units, Industrial-Commercial-Institutional Steam Generating Units, and Small Industrial-Commercial-Institutional Steam Generating Units) and the June 2008 final rule entitled “Standards of Performance for Petroleum Refineries.”  U.S. EPA retained the definition of EGUs previously established under Subpart Da that differentiates between EGUs (sources used primarily for generating electricity for sale to the grid) and non-EGUs (sources primarily used to generate steam and/or electricity for on-site use). In their originally filed petitions, the states made the claim that neither of the cited rules established standards of performance for GHG emissions, and further pointed out that U.S. EPA had a statutory obligation to issue NSPS for all pollutants it regulates.

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