Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’

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.”


AISI urges support of bill to block EPA regulation of GHGs

This objection from the AISI is understandable, but does nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the steel industry. It is understandable, as the problem is definitely global, but it will not be resolved globally without the full active participation of the USA. This can be either by EPA action or by the US Congress passing a cap and trade bill – from the worldwide GHG point of view – either or could be effective.

SBB 4 June 2010 The US Senate will consider legislation next week that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.

The US manufacturing industry is against EPA regulation of GHGs, as Steel Business Briefing has reported, saying it would raise US manufacturing costs while allowing foreign competitors to increase their emissions, resulting in no environmental benefit.

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) sent out a ‘steel action alert’ this week, urging member companies and others in the steel industry to contact their senators and ask them to support the legislation when it is considered next week.

AISI acknowledges that climate change is a global problem but says it can only be addressed effectively on a global basis.

“Given the lack of international consensus on binding GHG emissions commitments, US climate change policy should be established through legislation,” not through EPA regulation, AISI contends. Through legislation, measures can be included that would help maintain the industry’s global competitiveness, AISI notes.

Obama could allow EPA to regulate US steel CO2 emissions

In contrast to a US Congress that is unable and/or unwilling to pass legislation on limiting CO2 emissions from power utilities, cars and heavy industry, it would appear that the president is willing to authorise the country’s executive branch – namely the EPA – to take control. He threatened to do this once before the Copenhagen conference. With the Senate about to issue a draft bill, this will put additional pressure on Congress to take substantive action. The EPA move will include steel – for an integrated producer, the threshhold of 75,000 tonnes/year ( 83,000 short tons/year) is approximately the CO2 tonnage emitted from producing 38,000 tonnes of crude steel; for an EAF, it is approximately the CO2 tonnage emitted from producing 300,000 tonnes of crude steel. 

SBB April 23 The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apparently is still in the picture when it comes to the potential regulation of large emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

According to a posting on the federal Office of Management and Budget web site, the White House is reviewing the EPA’s so-called “tailoring rule,” which would enable the agency to tailor Clean Air Act regulations to apply to carbon emissions by steelmakers, coal-fired power plants and other large industrial players.

President Obama has said for some time he prefers a legislative solution to curb GHG emissions. However, it’s uncertain whether Congress will soon approve such a measure.

A compromise climate change bill is expected to be unveiled in the US Senate early next week, as <b>Steel Business Briefing</b> has reported. In the interim, though, the EPA has already started to issue rules aimed at curbing GHGs – mostly from sources with carbon emissions of at least 75,000 tonnes/year.

The move, which could lead to additional and costly EPA regulation of GHGs going forward, has been met with opposition from manufacturers and heavy industry. The EPA says it simply wants to lessen the regulatory burden on other federal and state agencies.

According to published reports, with the White House reviewing the rule, its finalization could be imminent.

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

US Senate could be nearing compromise CO2 measure, say reports

Could be good, could be bad. Would a carbon tax be more effective than cap and trade? – It could be stepped up annually, so tightening the efficiency screws on power utilities and steel mills. It might also allow for an easier ride at the WTO on border adjustments… Has it been fully discussed in Europe, Japan or the USA?

SBB 16 March The US Senate could be close to working out compromise carbon emissions reduction legislation that would include a controversial cap-and-trade proposal – at least for utilities, Steel Business Briefing learns.

An unnamed senator tells Reuters it’s still unclear how the government would reduce carbon emissions from sectors including manufacturing and transportation, but a bill could be introduced by next week that would at least include measures to reduce emissions created by the utility industry.

The US House passed a more universal cap-and-trade plan that covers oil refineries, in addition to manufacturers and utilities. The Senate has been unable to pass a similar version, so some of its members have been working on a compromise plan that leaders in the legislative body say they hope could be voted on by June, Reuters reports.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it has the authority to begin regulating carbon emissions itself if Congress cannot pass legislation to do so on its own, SBB notes.