NPRA says EPA Action on Greenhouse Gases Unlawful

May 13, 2010, 13:47 ET from National Petrochemical & Refiners Association

WASHINGTON, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A final rule issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dramatically raise the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources – including refineries, power plants and other  manufacturers – that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act is unlawful and should be scrapped, according to NPRA, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association.

"It's the job of federal agencies like EPA to regulate, not legislate," NPRA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Gregory M. Scott said. "If EPA wants changes in the Clean Air Act it should propose them to Congress, not unlawfully take on the role of Congress."

The final GHG  "tailoring" rule announced today by EPA would subject only stationary sources of GHG emissions of 100,000 tons  or higher per year to state government permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act sets a permitting threshold of 250 tons annually for emissions from major sources – less than 1 percent of the new higher total set by EPA.

EPA has said it wants to focus initially on larger sources of greenhouse gases because it would be impossible to adequately regulate several million schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, restaurants and other small businesses that emit between 250 and 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases annually.

"EPA has adopted a tortured and legally unsupportable interpretation of the plain wording of the Clean Air Act in an effort to escape a regulatory train wreck of its own creation," Scott said. "If EPA is allowed to get away with this, it sets a dangerous precedent for unelected officials in federal agencies to change laws approved by the elected representatives of the American people.

"EPA created this regulatory mess when it decided, based on a questionable administrative record, to use the Clean Air Act for a purpose the authors of the law never intended – to regulate greenhouse gases," Scott added.  "However, now that EPA has started down this path, it does not have the right to pick and choose between portions of the law that fit its activist agenda and those that do not. Only Congress can rewrite the Clean Air Act."

SOURCE National Petrochemical & Refiners Association