The EPA Uses the Clean Air Act to Propose New Rules Intended to Reduce GHG Emissions from Large Emitters

In a move certain to fuel the debate over climate change legislation in Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") recently revealed a new proposal to regulate greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from power plants, factories and refineries, which are considered large GHG emitters. The regulations being developed would, for the first time, 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. Small businesses such as farms, restaurants, and many other types of small facilities would not be included in these requirements. The EPA’s proposal signals that it will act under the existing authority provided by the Clean Air Act, meaning that if Congress does not pass a climate change bill, the EPA will act on its own to curb emissions.

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