WASHINGTON--U.S. environmental regulators said on Wednesday they will not force coal plants and manufacturers to adopt specific technologies to cut greenhouse gas output, but will push them to become more energy efficient to comply with looming climate rules.
The move by the Environmental Protection Agency helped relieve some fears in the industries that the agency would require emitters to quickly invest in expensive, unproven technologies to cut output of gases blamed for global warming. But industry groups did complain they would not have enough time to comply with the rules.
The EPA is taking steps to regulate greenhouse gases because Congress failed to pass a climate bill this year. Some lawmakers and industry groups are trying to stop them from regulating.
Beginning January 2, the EPA plans to start requiring big emitters such as power plants, refineries, and cement manufacturers to obtain permits for polluting greenhouse gases.
"We believe this approach will in most cases lead to improvements in energy efficiency," Gina McCarthy, an EPA assistant administrator on air and radiation, told reporters in a teleconference.
The agency released on Wednesday guidance on the best available control technologies, or BACT, that companies should use to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases. The companies will have to adhere to the guidelines when expanding or building new plants or factories, and work with state and local air authorities to decide which technology works best for them. … Read more