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EPA is taking a common-sense approach to developing standards for greenhouse gas emissions from mobile and stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. Below are the key proposed or completed actions taken to implement Clean Air Act requirements for carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases.
A summary of EPA's efforts to reduce carbon pollution is also available in testimony by Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, to Congress on June 29, 2012. (16 pp,105 K, About PDF)
Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Findings
On December 7, 2009, Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final action, under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, finding that six key well-mixed greenhouse gases constitute a threat to public health and welfare, and that the combined emissions from motor vehicles cause and contribute to the climate change problem. Learn more about the Greenhouse Gas Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings.
EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are taking coordinated steps to enable the production of a new generation of clean vehicles-- from the smallest cars to the largest trucks--through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved fuel use. Together, the enacted and proposed standards are expected to save more than six billion barrels of oil through 2025 and reduce more than 3,100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Learn more about standards and regulations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles and engines.
EPA is also responsible for developing and implementing regulations to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel. By 2022, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 138 million metric tons, about the annual emissions of 27 million passenger vehicles, replacing about seven percent of expected annual diesel consumption and decreasing oil imports by $41.5 billion.
On September 20, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its first steps under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. EPA is proposing carbon pollution standards for new power plants built in the future, and is kicking off the process of engagement with states, stakeholders, and the public to establish carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.
On May 13, 2010, EPA set greenhouse gas emissions thresholds to define when permits under the New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Operating Permit programs are required for new and existing industrial facilities. This final rule "tailors" the requirements of these Clean Air Act permitting programs to limit covered facilities to the nation's largest greenhouse gas emitters: power plants, refineries, and cement production facilities.
On March 29, 2010, EPA completed its reconsideration of the December 18, 2008 memorandum entitled "EPA's Interpretation of Regulations that Determine Pollutants Covered by Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit Program" (the so-called "Johnson memo"). The final action confirmed that any new pollutants that EPA may regulate becomes covered under the PSD program on the date when the EPA rule regulating that new pollutant takes effect. The final action then clarified that for greenhouse gases, the effective date would be January 2, 2011, when the cars rule took effect.
The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects greenhouse gas data from large emission sources across a range of industry sectors, as well as suppliers of products that would emit greenhouse gases if released or combusted. Greenhouse gas data are available through the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Data Publication Tool.
Other Related Actions
On April 18, 2012, EPA finalized cost effective regulations to reduce harmful air pollution from the oil and natural gas industry, while allowing continued, responsible growth in U.S. oil and natural gas production. The final rules are expected to yield a nearly 95 percent reduction in VOC emissions from more than 11,000 new hydraulically fractured gas wells each year. The rules will also reduce air toxics and emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Geologic sequestration is the process of injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) from a source, such as a coal-fired electric generating power plant, into a well thousands of feet underground and sequestering the CO2 underground indefinitely. With proper site selection and management, geologic sequestration could play a major role in reducing emissions of CO2. EPA has finalized requirements for geologic sequestration, including the development of a new class of wells, Class VI, under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act's Underground Injection Control Program. Learn more about EPA's rulemakings on geologic sequestration under the Safe Drinking Water Act.