The Obama administration will spare a stalled power plant project in California from the newest federal limits on greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing (pdf) that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.Team Obama knows who its friends are...
According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, officials reviewed EPA policies and decided it was appropriate to "grandfather" projects such as the Avenal Power Center, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
The shift also has implications for the Obama administration's climate program.
McCarthy's statement says the proposed Avenal plant will be exempt from "additional permitting requirements that have taken effect during the period of time these permit applications have been pending" -- which include new standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2) that were put in place last summer and the new greenhouse gas rules that took effect on Jan. 2.
With such an exemption, projects that have been in the permitting pipeline for years would no longer need to show that they are using the best available technology to control their greenhouse gas emissions.
"EPA will propose to extend similar relief to other permit applicants that can show they are similarly situated," says the filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "This determination represents a change in the position EPA has taken in this matter and in previous interpretive statements issued by EPA."
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Sharing The Waiver Wealth
Obama waivers, previously available for unions and big business, are now available courtesy of the EPA: