The EPA may be easing its objections to a delay in regulating greenhouse gases. The Agency issued a written statement that it’s reviewing a new bill by West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller to freeze EPA stationary source greenhouse gas rules for two years while Congress works on climate legislation. Rockefeller would not overturn - as would other House and Senate measures by both parties - EPA’s so-called endangerment finding.
That has ag and ethanol leaders - like Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis - thinking there could be a breakthrough in EPA’s stand-off with Congress before EPA triggers a rash of regulations starting the end of this month. Buis says that it sounds like a softening of the position by EPA, which up to this point they had indicated that they were going to proceed. Anybody that emitted 25 tons or greater was going to fall under their regulations. So, on the surface of it, it sounds like EPA is looking for some resolutions to the controversial issue.
Agriculture and other small emitters would be covered by the lower-threshold required under the Clean Air Act.
Now Buis senses the Obama Administration may be looking for a way out of a contentious fight with Democrats and Republicans in an election year. The conventional wisdom is that cap & trade is going nowhere, that that one isn’t going to move under any circumstances, there’s too much controversy surrounding it. There are people in all camps that are looking at how to come up with something to accommodate all interest.
The Administration has ratcheted up pressure on Congress with its plans to move ahead on greenhouse gas rules - starting with mobile source rules March 31st. But Buis sees the latest statement by EPA as a good sign that the two sides are at last starting to talk.
Buis says Congress - not EPA - needs to solve the climate change dilemma. Buis says that Ag Growth is hoping that Congress steps in, in some shape, manner or form and does the common sense solution rather than just allowing this total assigning by EPA to move forward.
Buis warns that unless Congress acts - the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling on greenhouse gases still gives EPA authority to regulate them as dangerous pollutants.