U.S. EPA Sets Timeline for Regulating Global Warming Pollution

With climate policy gridlock in the U.S. Senate, the Obama administration is slowly and steadily moving forward with regulations the limit greenhouse gas pollution from stationary sources, something that strikes fear in the hearts of oil and coal industry executives everywhere. In the latest development on December 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its timeline for regulating carbon dioxide pollution from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.

The December 23 announcement itself “wasn’t a huge deal,” says David Roberts of Grist. But the ultimate regulations, which will apply to factories, oil refineries, and power plants, including many of the oldest, dirtiest coal plants, is a huge deal.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s quote in the agency’s press release reinforces Roberts’ analysis, “We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce [greenhouse gas] pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” she explains. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home,” continues Jackson.

Environmental advocates gave similarly measured statements to the press:

“By setting timetables for issuing standards to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants and oil refineries, EPA is doing precisely what is needed to protect our health and welfare and provide businesses certainty at a time when some would prefer to roll back the clock,” David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate center, told the Washington Post.

“Global warming poses perhaps the greatest threat to our environment and our public health, and we need to clean up the oldest and dirtiest power plants to begin to solve the problem,” said Nathan Willcox, federal global warming program director for Environment America, in a press release. “The sooner we get started cleaning up the largest sources of pollution and transitioning to cleaner energy sources, the better chance we’ll give future generations to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.“

Roberts explains that EPA has been “dribbling” out global warming regulations over the last year without much fanfare. Roberts summarizes the regulatory developments in a blog post that is a bit technical but as good as it gets for explaining this stuff. His final paragraph sums it up well:

“Bottom line: This latest development is one more step in the march toward finally getting large existing sources of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants to clean up. But the real action will come next year, when the standards themselves are announced. Stay tuned!”

Power plant photo by eutrophication&hypoxia

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55 comments

Alicia T.
Alicia Todd4 years ago

Every step toward this goal is significant at this point

Paul S.
Paul S.4 years ago

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

FINALLY, some progress in acknowledging the threat that is real.

Victoria Molinari
Past Member 5 years ago

time for doing not talking...

Roxana J.
Roxana J.5 years ago

Thaks for the post .

Jennifer Martin
Jennifer M.5 years ago

Awesome. Whether you believe in global warming or not, you SHOULD be worried about pollution! It's bad for your health. It's ruining our water supplies, which will run out eventually. That is definitely something to worry about.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

Interestng article.....thanx

Frances Bell
Frances Bell5 years ago

Yes there are extreme cold weather events but if you do the research you'll find that scientists predict this as part of climate change due to global warming. Ice is definitely retreating and so is snow on mountains that always used to have it - if you look at nothing else, look at pictures of Kilimanjaro in Africa. I can't say this article gives me much hope - everything that comes from government pretty much anywhere in the world is just a precursor to more talk, and we've yet to see any real action or commitment. By the time they get around to DOING something, it'll be too late.

Norm C.
Norm C.5 years ago

Scott, you might want to look for a different source for your information -- your current source is lying and distorting what you're getting.

Arctic ice is not really growing. Some stretches of the Artic saw slight growth in sea ice for a short time, but the ice was not very thick and melted quickly during the summer.

Antarctica is now showing bare rock where it used to be hidden by tens of feet of ice.

The mountain glaciers of the Andes and the Rockies are disappearing at speeds never seen by modern man. Because the ice is melting, we are finding in the Andes bodies of ancient natives that perished millenia ago in blizzards.

Glacier National Park may soon have to be renamed Puddle Park because the glaciers are disappearing so quickly.

Norm C.
Norm C.5 years ago

And the Rupugnacants are fuming and spewing.