EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

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The United States Supreme Court ruled in June that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must reduce its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.  The EPA tried to increase two of its permit programs to include emissions of carbon dioxide from stationary sources, which the Court ruled as a violation of the Clean Air Act. The EPA “can continue to treat greenhouse gas emissions as a pollutant for so-called ‘anyway’ sources that already require a permit under the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) program for conventional pollutants like particulate matter, but cannot do the same from defining a ‘major emitting facility’ for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or a ‘major source’ for Title V.”  Many groups that challenged the EPA’s interpretation of the rule claimed that they were trying to fit greenhouse gas regulations around the very different PSD program; the Court ruled that the EPA has no authority to “tailor” the language of the Clean Air Act to fit their policy goal.  Although the EPA had some of its authority struck down, the agency was happy with the decision because it can still “require carbon pollution limits for the nation’s largest sources.”


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