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Jackson gives timeline for climate regulation

By Juliet Eilperin

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson laid out the timetable for regulating greenhouse gas emissions Monday, writing in a letter to lawmakers that she plans to start targeting large facilities like power plants next year but won't target small emitters before 2016.

The missive, a response to a letter several coal-state senators sent Jackson late Friday, makes it clear the Obama administration will move ahead with curbing global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act unless Congress moves to stop it. But Jackson emphasized the administration had to act under a 2007 Supreme Court decision that said greenhouse gases from motor vehicles qualified as a pollutant under the 40-year-old air-quality law.

Jackson wrote that the agency was trying to "provide a manageable path forward for businesses and state governments" while still complying with the Supreme Court decision.

"I share your goals of ensuring economic recovery at this critical time and of addressing greenhouse-gas emissions in sensible ways that are consistent with the call for comprehensive energy and climate legislation," she wrote.

Under the plan Jackson outlined, major emitters of carbon dioxide that are already seeking air-pollution permits would face regulation as early as the start of 2011. Medium-sized emitters such as a large liquor distillery would not face carbon restrictions until the second half of 2011 at earliest, and smaller facilities such as dry cleaners and hospitals wouldn't come under the rules until 2016.

Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, praised the decision as "a reasonable timeline for new regulations for big carbon polluters under the Clean Air Act. Just as it has with other pollutants for 40 years, EPA has now made crystal clear that it will address global warming pollution in a way that benefits both our economy and our environment."

But Jeffrey R. Holmstead, an attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani who represents several companies that would be regulated under Jackson's plan, said the plan will face a serious legal challenge.

"The way that she is proposing to do this will be litigated every step of the way," said Holmstead, who has advised Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on how to block EPA from acting under the Clean Air Act.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  February 22, 2010; 5:41 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Towns in Massachusetts have been voting to turn off street lights in light of local budget shortfalls. Electricity was used for space heaters, city water pumps, school lighting, and is linked to much more than meets the eye. Environmentalists had previously shut down nuclear reactor construction, now they have attacked non-nuclear coal. Little do they realize that more carbon is emitted from oil usage as oil is used more extensively than coal for energy in the USA. What planet will elect a politician who bans gasoline use? Rockefeller is practical; not an ideologue.

Posted by: rainsong | February 23, 2010 9:05 PM
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This could work out quite well. Either the courts will prohibit EPA from taking this abominable course, or the Congress will prohibit it. In either case, the citizens of the US will see clearly how irresponsible EPA and the Democrats are.

Posted by: snorbertzangox | February 22, 2010 7:27 PM
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France has declared carbon taxes "unconstitutional."

Idaho has the cheapest electricity in the nation at about 6 cents per KWh. 80% of their power is from hydroelectric.

The Sierra Club wants to ban fossil fuels and does not allow hydroelectric construction. That leaves us with windmills and solar panels. The wind does not blow and it rains. California wants to ban ethanol for its carbon content. Texas is suing the EPA. Won't they force us to a "post carbon" reservation?

Posted by: rainsong | February 22, 2010 6:44 PM
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