The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a rule that would limit future greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations under the Clean Air Act to large industrial facilities emitting the equivalent of 25,000 tons or more of carbon dioxide annually. Effectively,  the application of GHG regulations will be confined to facilities such as power plants, refineries, and factories, which produce nearly 70% of U.S. GHGs.  This proposal lets relatively small GHG emitters off the hook.  The EPA was apparently alarmed at predicitions that the application of GHG regulations to low emitters would cause state permitting authorities to be inundated with more paperwork than they could handle with existing resources.

Under the proposed rule, 3,000 GHG emitters – mostly municipal landfills –  will now be required to file for a GHG permit. The proposed rule, announced by the EPA on September 30, will be open for public comment for 60 days once it has been published in the Federal Register – which had not happened as of yesterday.

Major emitters of GHGs will also have to apply for a permit when they increase their GHG emissions by between 10,000 and 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide, although the EPA is seeking input on those levels.