EPA to Phase in CO2 emissions permits/BACT for mid-sized sources
The Obama administration will give small businesses a break on coming carbon dioxide emissions rules but big emitters like coal-fired power plants will face a crack-down, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama has pushed the EPA to begin regulating gases blamed for warming the planet, in part to force polluters to support the climate change bill. The legislation is his preferred method of climate control, but it is stalled in the Senate.
The EPA said late last year it would require polluters that emit more than 25,000 tons a year of greenhouse gases to obtain permits demonstrating they were using the best available control technology (BACT) to reduce emissions.
Jackson raised that threshold on Wednesday, saying the regulations would exempt factories emitting under 75,000 tons of carbon annually in 2011 and 2012.
"If you're smaller than 75,000 tons, you will not need a permit for the next two years," Jackson told reporters after a Senate hearing.
The 75,000-ton threshold would exempt sources like hospitals, big buildings, and schools, but not heavy industry like coal-burning power plants, which emit 1 million tons a year or more of carbon dioxide, said Frank Maisano, an energy company advocate at Bracewell and Giuliani.
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