On Monday, June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in UARG v. EPA, the case that questioned EPA’s authority to require stationary sources to obtain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V air permits for greenhouse gases (GHGs). Specifically, the Court considered: (1) whether a stationary source can be required to obtain a PSD or Title V air permit based solely on its potential to emit GHGs and (2) whether sources that have to obtain PSD and Title V permits based on their potential to emit traditional criteria pollutants (so called “anyway sources”) must also obtain a permit limit based on the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for controlling GHG emissions. Ultimately, the Court held that GHG emissions alone cannot trigger an obligation to obtain a PSD or Title V permit, but that EPA can require a source to have a BACT limit for GHGs in its PSD permit if the source is required to obtain a PSD permit for any other pollutant. (more…)
WE KNOW ENERGY®
Sandra Snyder, Richard Alonso, Jeff Holmstead and Charles Nixon
Bracewell & Giuliani
Category: Air Quality/Climate Change, Courts, Crude and Products, DOE, Electric, Enforcement, Environmental, Litigation, Midstream, National Energy Law, Natural Gas/LNG, Offshore, Power, Regional Energy Law, Renewable Energy/Cleantech, Shale Development, Transmission, Upstream Energy
Bracewell & Giuliani
On June 4, Bracewell partner Jason Hutt was interviewed on Nightly Business Report by NBC’s Jackie DeAngelis about the role of government support in the growth of the solar power industry. Click here to view the Nightly Business Report clip.
Jeff Holmstead, Richard Alonso, Jason Hutt and Grant MacIntyre
On June 2, 2014, EPA issued a proposed rule to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. In its public outreach, EPA presents the rule as requiring a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 from the baseline year 2005. It is true that the rule would result in CO2 emissions that are 30% lower than in 2005, but the actual state-by-state emission reduction requirements are based on a 2012 baseline, which may disadvantage certain states or companies that made significant CO2 reductions before that year. The proposal establishes GHG emission targets for each State (except the District of Columbia and Vermont, which do not have any coal-fired power plants), and the targets represent very different levels of emission reduction in different states based on what EPA believes is economically feasible in each state. (more…)
Richard Alonso and Grant MacIntyre
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed an expansive rule that would impose additional requirements at petroleum refineries. The proposed rule (which spans 813 pages) is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register, and interested parties will have 60 days from publication to file public comments.
The proposal is a response to a lawsuit from environmental and public health groups alleging that EPA missed statutory deadlines to review the existing refinery Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules. EPA settled the litigation, agreeing to either propose additional regulations or propose a determination that additional regulations are not necessary. EPA has decided to propose additional regulations and is required to take final action on the proposal by April 17, 2015. (more…)
Tim Wilkins and Charles Nixon
On April 17, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations became effective, establishing the framework for a new GHG permitting program at TCEQ, which the agency hopes to begin implementing in the summer of 2014. Before this can happen, EPA must officially approve the rules and also rescind the Federal Implementation Plan under which it currently regulates GHGs in Texas.
The rules have immediate implications for a variety of facilities, however. Whereas the changes to the PSD program only involve new or modified facilities, the Title V aspects of the rules affect both new and existing facilities. Any existing facility with a “potential to emit” GHGs above EPA’s “major source” thresholds will have to either obtain a Title V permit or certify to TCEQ that its actual emissions are below the thresholds (found in 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 122.10(14)(H)). The timing of this certification depends on whether the facility currently has a Title V permit for non-GHG emissions. (more…)