Photo via How Green Is My Blog?
Just now, the EPA has formally announced that it will delay regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's biggest polluters until next year. However, in issuing the announcement, the agency affirms that it will indeed commence regulation in 2011. The delay is intended to give businesses more time to prepare their carbon reduction strategies, and comes in response to a slew of complaints from industry. From the EPA's statement:
"This is a common sense plan for phasing in the protections of the Clean Air Act. It gives large facilities the time they need to innovate, governments the time to prepare to cut greenhouse gases and it ensures that we don't push this problem off to our children and grandchildren," said EPA Administrator Jackson. "With a clear process in place, it's now time for American innovators and entrepreneurs to go to work and lead us into the clean energy economy of the future."While this may indeed give businesses some time to get their carbon emitting acts together, it also (and more likely) gives them time to lobby to protest said incoming regulations. And it gives anti-regulation types like Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) time to pass amendments that would strip the ability to regulate carbon pollution from the Clean Air Act.
Then again, it could be beneficial in a number of ways: it helps strengthen the EPA's case that it allowed plenty of time for business to prepare for the incoming regulations, which may prove useful when the EPA is inevitably sued by polluting companies. It also gives businesses that are earnestly attempting to curb their greenhouse gas emissions an additional 9 months to do so effectively.
That said, the nation's heaviest polluters aren't likely to take much solace in a 9-month grace period. You can bet they'll be using every lobbying and campaigning tactic in the book to halt the regulations in the meantime--and will start making serious noise about the issue when 2011 draws near.
More on the EPA Regulating Greenhouse Gases
Obama EPA May Regulate CO2 for the First Time Ever
EPA's CO2 Scheme: the Most Ambitious Regulation Challenge in History