EPA Announces Climate Change Regulation Will Not Take Effect Until After the 2010 Elections

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Agency clarifies that it will not implement greenhouse gas regulations for at least one more year.

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Responding to a February 19, 2010, letter with questions and concerns from eight Democratic Senators about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to address climate change under the Clean Air Act, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday announced that EPA will not make any climate change regulations under the Act take effect until January 2011 or later.

In addition to asking about EPA’s timetable for implementing new regulations, the Senators asked in their letter about the number of polluting facilities that will be required to obtain prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permits once EPA finalizes its regulations. EPA never fully answers this question, stating only that no facilities will be required to file greenhouse gas permits in 2010 and fewer than 400 facilities will be required for the first half of 2011.  After that, presumably the number of regulated facilities will increase.  The Administrator’s letter states that the agency “does not intend to subject the smallest sources to Clean Air Act permitting for greenhouse-gas emissions any sooner than 2016.”

Senator Jay Rockefeller, the lead author of the initial letter to EPA, has responded that Administrator Jackson’s assurance represents some “good progress,” but he still expresses concern that “it may not go far enough.”