Capitol Hill

EPA causes alarm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR): Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act (CAA) was published July 30, 2008, and has generated great alarm in the business community. The ANPR is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA. The ruling stated EPA must determine whether carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles endanger public health or welfare.

However, the ANPR transcends motor vehicles to take into account numerous petitions related to the potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the CAA. As EPA acknowledges in the ANPR, a finding of "endangerment" for motor vehicles would trigger not only vehicle controls but also invasive carbon dioxide controls on buildings and other stationary emissions sources. Four regulatory programs would be triggered: National Ambient Air Quality Standards; New Source Performance Standards; Prevention of Significant Deterioration; and Title V (operating permits).

Halting construction

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Ambient Air Quality Standards for carbon dioxide would result in a permanent scaling down of societal quality of life as every state would have to grapple with nonattainment status and the resulting penalties, including loss of federal highway funding; punitive offsets to new construction on a 1-to-1 basis or more; and imposition of the strictest technology standards and pollution controls under the CAA. New Source Performance Standards would require the imposition of "best available technology" for new and existing stationary sources in a potentially limitless number of source categories.