States urge delay on emission rules

Some state regulators have been asking the Obama administration to delay proposed federal rules curbing industrial greenhouse gas emissions, according to The Wall Street Journal. The states, echoing some criticisms from business groups, fear the proposed rules will delay construction projects, inundate them with paperwork and undercut their own efforts to fight climate change.

Other state regulators support the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA’s) efforts and are more concerned with how quickly the rules will be phased in and how to pay for additional regulatory oversight. Some states are asking for some simple tweaking of the proposal while others are predicting severe consequences and asking EPA to reconsider the proposal.

South Carolina regulators say many construction jobs are at risk with the proposal. California regulators say the proposal would slow reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and cause "gridlock" on the construction of natural-gas-fired power plants in California, which are being used to provide backup power for the renewable power the state increasingly is employing.

The Obama administration has said it would prefer implementing a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which would require companies to hold permits to emit greenhouse gases. States are worried about the tens of thousands of new air-quality permits that would need to be issued and are concerned EPA won't give them enough time to revise their own state rules, which generally set much lower emissions thresholds for air pollution regulation.

The Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration filed comments that said EPA's proposed rules "are likely to have a significant economic impact on a large number of small entities."

EPA says it is reviewing the comments from state regulators and has made no decisions about the final rule.

Date : 1/14/2010