EPA Gives States Guidelines On Industrial Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency has come out with new rules for states to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other large industrial polluters. The rules go into effect at the beginning of next year and apply only to new facilities and major expansions of existing plants.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


The odds are not good for legislation on climate change to get through Congress any time soon. Still, environmental regulators are moving forward with new rules. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued instructions for states to regulate emissions from power plants and other large industrial polluters.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren has more.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN: Starting next year, companies would need greenhouse gas permits when building or expanding power plants, refineries, metal smelters, cement kilns or other major polluters. The EPA says at the beginning, instead of being required to install expensive cutting-edge technologies, companies will have to use the most efficient cost-effective equipment available. By using less fuel theyll produce less greenhouse gas pollution.

But lawyer Jeffrey Homestead, who represents businesses covered by the regulations, says they're so unclear that neither businesses nor regulators will know what to do.

Mr. JEFFREY HOMESTEAD (Attorney): It's going to be a mess. There basically will be a construction ban on industrial construction for a couple of years.

SHOGREN: Gina McCarthy, who heads the EPA's air pollution programs, rejects that.

Ms. GINA MCCARTHY (EPA): The Clean Air Act for 40 years has found a way to issue permits in a way that's allowed the economy to continue to grow, allowed new facilities, new companies and new jobs. We are not going to stop that with the greenhouse gas process.

SHOGREN: Some states and businesses are challenging the agency in court. Attempts by congressional opponents to stall the EPA program failed this year. But with Republicans taking control of the House and more Republicans in the Senate, the EPA's rule is a likely target of the new Congress.

Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.