Industry leaders urge Congress to address CO2, not EPA


It can be a toss-up when having to choose between a regulatory agency and Congress as to which would provide better oversight and regulation. However, the AISI and ACC are probably right that a more comprehensive legislative plan approved by Congress would be preferable. EPA officials also likely would be hamstrung by a lack of resources and personnel, in terms of implementation and enforcement, and be limited in their scope by the federal Clean Air Act. The Kerry/Lieberman/Graham legislation being mulled in the Senate could provide more clarity and cost-compliance assistance for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG). It’s probably worth pointing out something Gibson mentioned during the conference call: the industrial sector was the only one to reduce its GHG emissions between 1999-2008. The sector’s GHG emissions fell by 5.9% during that period, while the electricity sector saw its emissions rise by 30%, transportation’s increased by 21.6% and agriculture’s rose 11.4%. The steel industry alone has reduced overall absolute GHG emissions by 31% since 1990, Gibson said.

SBB 23 March The heads of two large trade organizations representing US manufacturers urged federal officials to allow Congress to address carbon emissions reduction efforts, rather than permit the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin regulating such emissions this month.

The EPA could start regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources, such as steel mills, as soon as March 31, when the agency will also issue auto emissions standards.

American Iron and Steel Institute CEO Thomas Gibson, during a teleconference yesterday with American Chemistry Council CEO Cal Dooley, said comprehensive GHG legislation being discussed in the US Senate would be preferable to EPA regulation, which could impact businesses starting in 2011 and create uncertainty in the industrial sector.

“It’ll bring to a halt new investment right now, when we need it most,” Gibson told media outlets covering the conference, including Steel Business Briefing.

He added that a unilateral approach through the EPA would put America on unequal footing with competitors in China, India, Brazil and elsewhere.

“In the wake of the failure of the Copenhagen Treaty, getting US policy right is more critical than ever,” Gibson said.

Dooley said manufacturing officials have received a “very general outline” of pending Senate legislation that could call for a mix of carbon fees and allowances, a cap-and-trade scheme and assistance in offsetting compliance costs. Industry executives expect to be briefed on the legislation and more specifics later this week, he said.

AISI’s Gibson, Congressional Steel Caucus chairman Pete Visclosky and others will address GHG regulation at SBB’s Green Steel Summit, May 20-21 in Washington, DC

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