EPA Defends Proposed GHG Plan But Extends Timeline

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In September of 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") revealed a new proposal to regulate greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from power plants, factories and refineries, which are considered large GHG emitters. In a response to questions from Senate Democrats, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a letter on February 22, standing by the agency's plans to develop the first-time Clean Air Act ("CAA") regulations for GHGs and attacking pending efforts in Congress to overturn the EPA's finding that GHGs endanger public health and welfare.

The regulations being developed would require the use of best available control technology (“BACT”) to compel large emitting sources to curb GHG emissions whenever a new facility is constructed or a major modification takes place. The proposal would require large industrial facilities that emit at least 25,000 tons of GHGs a year to obtain construction and operating permits.

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