The Tailoring Rule Requires No Alterations: EPA Leaves GHG Permitting Thresholds Unchanged

Last Friday, Lisa Jackson signed “Step 3” of the Tailoring Rule. In what was probably not a surprise to many, EPA determined

"that state permitting authorities have not had sufficient time to develop necessary permitting infrastructure and to increase their GHG permitting expertise and capacity. By the same token, EPA and the state permitting authorities have not had the opportunity to develop and implement streamlining approaches."

In other words, subjecting more facilities to the GHG rule would still pose a risk of tying the system in knots, so EPA’s not going there – at least not yet.

EPA also promulgated some revisions to 40 CFR Part 52 to facilitate use of plantwide applicability limits for GHG sources. Most importantly, the regulations will permit GHG-only sources (sources that are not major sources for non-GHG pollutants) to utilize GHG PALs and retain their minor source status with respect to other pollutants.

EPA is fond of describing its GHG regulatory program as a common sense approach. It is certainly true that, so long as EPA regulates GHGs under existing CAA authority, today’s rule qualifies as common sense. It’s still not going to please many people.