As discussed in the Wall Street Journal, it didn't take long before a flurry of bills were introduced in Congress to stop EPA from moving forward with its controversial greenhouse gas (GHGs) regulations. After passage of the deal to extend Bush era tax cuts, halting EPA efforts is seen as the next major action needed to continue the nation's economic recovery.
All the bills are aimed at either stripping or delaying EPA's ability to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act. Here is a summary from the Wall Street Journal:
It has been just one day since the start of the new Congress and lawmakers have already introduced at least four bills to cripple or altogether block the administration from working on greenhouse-gas standards.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) got the ball rolling in the U.S. Senate Thursday with a bill that prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing its greenhouse-gas requirements for two years.
Meanwhile, in the House, Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) proposed a bill Wednesday that blocks the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Rep. Ted Poe (R., Texas) introduced legislation that same day that prevents the EPA from receiving funding for any type of cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.
On Thursday, Rep. Shelley Moore Capitol (R., W.Va.) announced a bill to suspend the EPA's work on greenhouse gases for two years.
Ohio Signs Emergency Rules to Prevent Regulation of Small Sources
While Congress tries to block EPA, Ohio has moved forward with implementation of the EPA rules at the State level. On December 30th, Governor Strickland signed emergency rules which will be effective for 90 days to essentially adopt U.S. EPA's Tailoring Rule. The Tailoring Rule raises the trigger level for federal permitting as a result of GHG emissions from levels in the Clean Air Act of 100/250 tons per year to 75,000 tons per year for GHGs.
Strickland and Governor-Elect John Kasich received letters of support for this rule package from major Ohio employers, such as: Ohio Chemistry Technology Council, Procter & Gamble, BASF Chemical Company, Lubrizol, AEP, INEOS ABS Corp., GFS Chemicals, Capital Resin Corporation, Americas Styrenics, Dover Chemical Corp., and ISP.
By enacting the rules, the trigger threshold has been raised so that only very large sources of GHGs face the new permitting requirements. Without the rules, Ohio would arguably have had more stringent standards and could potentially have required to seek federal permits from thousands of sources.
To read the executive order, emergency rules or the industry support letters click here.