EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified in front of a Senate appropriations subcommittee Wednesday about the EPA’s planned carbon permit policy. Last year Jackson told lawmakers the EPA would regulate all businesses with emissions above 25,000 tons per year. Yesterday she raised that number to somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 tons, levels which include only large scale industrial projects and power plants. Even at the significantly higher level the chance of the proposal being enacted doesn’t look good. At this point it’s not expected to start until 2011 and with Congress’ current point of view it looks to be delayed even longer or stopped all together.
The permit proposal isn’t completely fished out yet but it is not meant to regulate the amount of carbon emitted. The purpose is to make sure that large emitters are doing what they can to be responsible about their emissions by implementing the latest technology to lower them. The law was initially intended to include most of large industry. In response to a large backlash in Congress the EPA moved the initial phase to a higher emissions level and will work their way into including everyone emitting over 25,000 tons a year over the next six years.
Since there is a large movement in Congress to stop the bill, lawmakers argue that it will hinder the economy by making large companies pay for retrofits in a time when there’s not a lot of extra cash to go around. In a preemptive move 86 Republicans signed a resolution on Tuesday to stop the EPA’s proposed regulations. Some Senators are asking the EPA to let Congress pass their own emissions regulations. Others are invoking arguments against global warming to stop the permit implementation. With the recent study about California’s emissions in the news, one is left wondering why Jackson didn’t involve health issues with air pollutants in her argument for the emissions permits. Prospects for the proposal look dim, which leaves us wondering how Congress can ever be a partner in the fight against climate change.