President Obama has authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to begin moving toward regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from hundreds of power plants and large industrial facilities. The proposed rules could take effect as early as 2011and place the greatest burden on 400 power plants by requiring them to prove they have applied the best available technology to reduce emissions or face penalties. Each of those power plants emit at least 25-thousand tons of carbon dioxide a year and are responsible for nearly 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says the proposed rule has been written to exempt small businesses, farms, large office buildings and other relatively small sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Supporters of the plan said it was carefully written to affect only the biggest emitters.
The proposal will go through several months of drafting and public comment and faces likely litigation from industry and perhaps from environmentalists or citizen groups.