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July 22, 2010

Iowa Joins States Defending New Global Warming Pollution Limits

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller joined 12 other states in filing a motion in Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals defending a new environmental regulation limiting greenhouse gases.

Starting in January 2011, pollution control requirements under the federal Clean Air Act will apply for the first time to new or modified facilities that emit global warming pollution. A new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), called a “tailoring rule,” focuses these requirements on the largest facilities, such as power plants, cement kilns, and oil refineries.  These large facilities account for 70% of the greenhouse gases from stationary sources.

The tailoring rule establishes higher threshold levels for application of certain requirements to stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the extraordinary administrative burdens on states and small sources of those emissions.  Without the tailoring rule, tens of thousands of environmental greenhouse gas emissions permits would be required.

On Tuesday the (Iowa) Environmental Protection Commission unanimously approved the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ proposed Notice of Intended Action to implement the EPA’s tailoring rule.  The rule is currently scheduled to take effect on December 22, 2010.

The proposed rule would apply to 280 Iowa facilities with current operating permits, and add 65 facilities when the proposed rule takes effect.  The proposed rule would also exempt thousands of small sources of greenhouse gas emissions from seeking environmental permits pertaining to those emissions.

In response to the EPA’s tailoring rule, interest groups representing some of these large polluters have sued the EPA to overturn the rule. The 13-states have filed a motion to intervene to defend the EPA and oppose the lawsuits brought by the industry groups.

The states include: Iowa; California; Illinois; Maryland; Massachusetts; Maine; New Hampshire; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; and Rhode Island.

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