Door still open for EPA to regulate US carbon emissions

The Senate vote allowing the EPA to regulate carbon emissions will put more pressure on the USA to come up with workable, internationally consistent legislation on cap and trade, or another mechanism for setting a carbon price. This is a necessary condition for the USA to start cutting CO2 emissions as part of any international treaty to follow Kyoto.

SBB 11 June 2010 The US Senate yesterday rejected a resolution that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources, such as steelmakers, beginning in January.

Industry trade groups contend the federal agency’s involvement prevents an international approach from being taken on the controversial issue of climate change, while placing unfair burdens on US-based manufacturers.

The Obama administration has said publicly the resolution, introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, undermined its efforts to reduce industrial pollution (including carbon emissions). The President threatened to veto the legislation if it reached his desk.

A coalition of 24 American trade groups, including the American Iron and Steel Institute and Metals Service Center Institute, had lobbied senators to approve Murkowski’s resolution. An AISI spokeswoman tells Steel Business Briefing the group plans in the next 30-60 days to challenge the legality of the EPA’s regulation of GHGs from large stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. The filling would be AISI’s third related to the emissions rule.

AISI CEO Thomas Gibson expressed disappointment over the Senate vote:

“This regulatory path will be economically detrimental to American manufacturing, and will not result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emission, as overseas competitors will continue to increase their emissions,” Gibson said. “We look forward to working with … members of Congress in support of (Senate legislation), which would delay EPA regulation for two years to provide Congress the time to carefully develop climate policy that achieves both America’s environmental and economic goals.”


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