By TENNILLE TRACY
WASHINGTON -- Fresh off a legal victory upholding its rules
on greenhouse gas emissions, the Obama administration
has decided to go easy on "smaller" facilities that emit carbon dioxide, methane and other
The Environmental Protection Agency said
late Tuesday it would maintain existing thresholds for its
greenhouse gas requirements and would not require permits from
facilities that emit fewer than 100,000 tpy of emissions.
This protects thousands of facilities from having to
undertake energy-efficiency measures to reduce their
EPA currently requires new facilities that emit more than
100,000 tons to obtain permits obligating them to reduce their
emissions. It also requires this from existing facilities that
make changes leading to more emissions.
The requirements often apply to power plants, refiners and
other big industrial facilities.
The EPA said it decided to exclude smaller facilities because state officials
who issue permits wouldn't be able to handle an increased
The agency did not rule out the possibility of targeting
those smaller facilities in the future, saying
tighter standards were not appropriate "at this time."
The American Petroleum Institute, the main lobbying arm of
the oil industry and a vocal critic of the EPA's greenhouse gas
rules, said it was still reviewing Tuesday's decision.
"EPA's greenhouse gas regulations continue to require
businesses wishing to expand to jump through unnecessary
requirements, slowing business expansion and job creation that
America needs to help strengthen our economy," said API
director Howard Feldman.
Tuesday's move represented the third phase of a
controversial rule known as the "tailoring rule." Under this
rule, the EPA increased the threshold under which greenhouse
gas requirements would be triggered under the Clean Air
Without this rule, thousands of facilities would have gotten caught
in a regulatory snare and been forced to obtain greenhouse gas
The tailoring rule was one of many greenhouse gas
regulations challenged in court by state and industry groups
that think the EPA overstepped its bounds.
In a landmark decision last week, the US Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia upheld the EPA's rules.
The court said the litigants challenging the tailoring rule
did not have standing to do so.
Dow Jones Newswires