API: Congress, not EPA, should direct GHG policy

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Feb. 4 -- Congress should direct US policy on greenhouse gas emissions rather than the Environmental Protection Agency, American Petroleum Institute spokesmen told reporters during a Feb. 4 conference call from Washington, DC.

Khary Cauthen, API director of federal relations, said he sees growing, bipartisan sentiment among congressional members that EPA needs to be stopped from regulating GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act. For instance, Cauthen said CAA never was intended to regulate stationary source GHG emissions.

Previously, API has asked EPA officials to reconsider using New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under the CAA to set GHG standards. Cauthen said API is concerned that “overly burdensome regulations” could hinder companies from creating jobs and spurring the nation’s economic growth.

Howard Feldman, API director of regulatory and scientific affairs, said EPA should finalize NSPS that remain under development before setting new GHG standards.

Refiners want to improve their energy efficiency in order to improve their own financial performance, Howard said. API has worked with EPA to revise previous versions of the NSPS as required by the Clean Air Act.

"Any New Source Performance Standard must be cost effective and achievable so refineries can continue to make the changes necessary to meet the nation's energy needs,” Howard said.

API supported EPA’s request for more time to issue a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule concerning air pollutants such as mercury and soot from industrial boilers and solid waste incinerators (OGJ, Dec. 13, 2010, Newsletter).

A US District Court for the District of Columbia rejected EPA’s request for an extension in a court-ordered schedule for issuing the rule. The court told EPA to finalize the rule by Feb. 21.

Refiners already invested money into technology to make boilers highly efficient, Howard said. He suggested an administrative stay might be imposed on a new boiler rule as a way to give the EPA more time to work on it.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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