Court Upholds EPA’s GHG Permitting Efforts

on August 05, 2013 at 3:00 PM

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A U.S. appeals court has dismissed petitions from Texas, Wyoming, and industry groups against EPA’s greenhouse gas permitting requirements.

On July 26, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements, dismissing a suit from Texas, Wyoming, and industry groups claiming that EPA imposed inappropriate deadlines to adopt GHG regulations.  The issue pertains to the implementation of GHG permitting requirements in several states without adequate implementation plans as of January 2, 2011, when the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule (LDVR) took effect.

On May 7, 2010, EPA published the LDVR, which established regulations under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to control GHG emissions from cars and light trucks.  Based on determinations that the LDVR would trigger CAA permitting requirements for stationary sources, EPA published the GHG Tailoring Rule on June 3, 2010, targeting large industrial sources accounting for approximately 70 percent of GHG emissions from stationary sources.  In December 2010, the EPA finalized rules requiring industries planning new facilities or major expansions to obtain a New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit to curb GHG emissions.  The rule requires certain states to alter their PSD permitting regulations to include GHG emissions in order to start issuing permits from January 2011, or shortly thereafter.

The CAA permits states to develop and follow EPA-approved State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to address implementation requirements including provisions to issue preconstruction permits under the PSD program.  EPA issued an SIP call requiring 13 states to revise their SIPs and established SIP submittal dates between December 22, 2010 and December 1, 2011.  As Texas failed to select a date, EPA issued a Federal Implementation Plan that authorizes EPA to issue PSD permits to GHG sources in Texas until its SIP revisions receive EPA approval.

In 2012, the court upheld EPA’s LDVR and its determination that the rule triggered permitting requirements for new major stationary GHG sources.  The latest ruling is another major win for EPA’s GHG regulatory efforts.

July 29, 2013 via Energy Solutions Forum

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