Key InformationSponsor: McDermott (D-WA)
Status: Assigned to Committee (
H.R. 6338 creates a price on the carbon content of fuels based on statutory emissions targets. Revenues are dispersed via dividend payments to the public that are designed to offset any increase in energy costs. The bill establishes an emissions reduction schedule to reduce CO2 emissions to 20% of 2005 levels by 2055. The Secretary of Treasury will issue Federal Emissions Permits, each representing one-quarter ton of CO2 equivalent, at a price that is determined by the Secretary based on the statutory GHG emissions targets. Permits are to be purchased by the producers of covered GHG emissions substances within 14 days before or after production of a covered substance. Permits are not allowed to be traded and can only be purchased from or refunded by the Treasury. Requirements to hold permits take effect two years after passage to provide industry with enough time to prepare.
On January 11, 2012, EPA launched a new online data publication tool that provides the public with information on reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2010. The database currently covers nine industry groups, including 29 source categories, that directly emit large quantities of GHGs, as well as suppliers of certain fossil fuels and high global–warming-potential gases. Power plants, petroleum refineries, and chemical plants were the largest sources of emissions required to report. As mandatory GHG reporting expands to more sources, the data from these will be made available in the online tool.
The original Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule was finalized on October 30, 2009, pursuant to authority under the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. On November 19, 2011, EPA finalized a revised version of the rule, delaying reporting of 2010 GHG emissions data for several source categories from March 31, 2012, to September 28, 2012, in line with the reporting deadline for 2011 emissions data.
On Nov. 21, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will not meet a December 15, 2011, deadline to issue new regulations under the Clean Air Act limiting greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. The deadline was imposed as part of a settlement agreement with several states and environmental groups in December 2010. The agency says it needs more time to prepare new source performance standards and is in negotiations to set a new deadline.
This announcement comes after a recent EPA decision to delay the release of its greenhouse gas performance standards for power plants, previously scheduled for September 30 (after a postponement of the original July 26 deadline earlier in the year).
On November 29, EPA issued a final rule for GHG reporting, including a six-month extension for several industrial sectors that were previously scheduled to begin mandatory reporting on March 31, 2012. The move extends that deadline to Sept. 28, 2012, for facilities that include petroleum and natural gas systems, electronics manufacturing, industrial waste landfills, coal mining, industrial wastewater treatment and other installations. The August 4 proposed rule would also have required some industrial facilities to report twice, once for sources of pollution required to report in prior years, and again in September for sources reporting for the first time with 2011 emissions data. EPA says the one-time delay avoids this requirement, in line with industry requests received in comments on the proposal. EPA also noted an aim to ensure that there is sufficient time for development and stakeholder testing of the electronic GHG reporting tool.
The final rule also sets a reporting threshold of 36.5 million tons per year of methane for underground coal mines, which EPA says will simplify reporting for the sector and exclude small mines from reporting. The proposed rule required reporting by all underground mines that are subject to quarterly or more frequent sampling by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), regardless of size. In addition, the final rule makes a number of technical corrections and clarifications to reporting requirements across several industrial sectors.
On December 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a proposed rule to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy for light-duty vehicles for Model Years (MY) 2017-2025 (76 Fed. Reg. 74854,75420). The agencies announced the proposed standards in a Supplemental Notice of Intent (NOI) in late July, and originally hoped to issue the proposed rule by late September.
NHTSA’s proposed corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards would require an average fleet-wide basis of 49.6 mpg by 2025, while EPA’s proposed standards would require lower fleet-wide emissions of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 54.5 mpg if this level were achieved solely through improvements in fuel efficiency. The combined standards under the proposed rule will achieve an average fleet-wide fuel efficiency of 54.5 mpg by 2025, an increase of roughly five percent annually for passenger cars. Light trucks will have a lower target of 44 mpg, and passenger cars will have a higher goal of 62 mpg by 2025. The combined standards would reduce the amount of GHG emissions by half for MY 2025 light-duty vehicles, compared to MY 2010 vehicles, and EPA estimates that the standards will save four billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of MY 2017-2025 vehicles. CAFE standards are currently set at just over 27 mpg, and are scheduled to reach 35.2 mpg by 2016.
NHTSA has the authority to establish CAFE standards under the Energy Policy Conservation Act, and EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas as pollutants under Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, (549 U.S. 497 (2007)). EPA and NHTSA have worked closely with the California Air Resources Board (ARB), and ARB recently released a proposal for MY 2017-2025 emissions standards that are consistent with the proposed national standards. California has unique authority under the Clean Air Act to seek a waiver to implement more stringent air pollution standards for motor vehicles, and EPA granted California a waiver for GHG regulations for MY 2009-2016 light duty vehicles on July 8, 2009 (74 Fed. Reg. 32,744). At the same time California worked with EPA and NHTSA to develop a single nationwide federal standard for MY 2012-2016, and subsequently accepted the federal standards that were finalized May 7, 2010 (Joint Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, 75 Fed. Reg. 25,324).
NHTSA and EPA will jointly hold three public hearings in January to accept comments to the rulemaking documents, and NHTSA will also accept comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at these hearings. Comments must be received no later than 60 days after the December 1, 2011 publication in the Federal Register. A final rule is expected by July 31, 2012.
On December 7, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) published an Advanced Clean Car package of regulations to be considered for adoption at the ARB meeting on January 26, 2012. The package, containing amendments to California’s Low Emission Vehicle and Zero Emission Vehicle regulations, will require car manufacturers to offer for sale in California an increasing percentage of low emission and zero emission vehicles by 2025, and are designed to help the state achieve its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050.
The proposed Low Emission Vehicle (LEV III) amendments are intended to reduce fleet-wide average emissions to super ultra-low-emission vehicle (SULEV) levels by 2025, and to raise the full useful life durability requirement from 120,000 to 150,000 miles. The LEVIII proposal includes more stringent particulate matter (PM) standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles, which will reduce the health effects and premature deaths associated with these emissions. In concert with the LEV III requirements are proposed GHG emission standards, which closely align with the recent proposed federal GHG emissions and CAFE standards. ARB estimates that its proposed GHG standards would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 34% compared to 2016 levels, and by 52 million tons by 2025—the equivalent of taking ten million cars off the road.
The package includes amendments to the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation, which will further reduce the environmental impact of light-duty vehicles through increasing the number of ZEVs in the California fleet. ARB estimates that the regulation will result in 1.4 million ZEVs or TZEVs (transitional zero emission vehicle, most commonly a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) on the road by 2025, and also contains a provision that allows automakers that over comply with the national GHG emission requirements across their fleet to offset their ZEV requirements.
The proposed regulations also contain a provision that will require the construction of hydrogen fueling stations to support the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. ARB estimates that the advanced technologies used to achieve the new smog and greenhouse gas standards will increase a new vehicle’s price in 2025 by about $1,900, but will be offset by $6,000 in fuel savings over the life of the car. It is estimated that these measures will reduce annual fuel costs to operate a car by an average of 25%, with an overall cumulative savings of $22 billion by 2025.
The proposed LEV III and ZEV amendments will be considered at a two-day meeting of the Board, beginning January 26, 2012, at 9am PST.
Key InformationSponsor: Inhofe (R-OK)
Status: Rejected by Floor Vote (
The EPA Administrator is prohibited from promulgating regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a GHG to address climate change. No GHG can be considered an air pollutant under the CAA unless for reasons other than climate change. Light-duty and heavy-duty vehicle standards remain in effect.
Section 2. No Regulation of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases
- Title III of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7601) is amended to prohibit the Administrator of the EPA from promulgating regulations concerning, taking action relation to, or taking into consideration the emission of a GHG to address climate change.
- Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Emission Standards and CAFE rule (for 2012-2016) (75 Fed. Reg. 25324), and Proposed Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles rule (for 2014-2018) (75 Fed. Reg. 74152) remain in effect.
Also excepted from the prohibition are:
- implementation and enforcement of CAA title VI (stratospheric ozone protection), to the extent related only to one or more CAA class I or II substances (certain CFCs and HFCs);
- implementation and enforcement of §211(o) (the renewable fuel program);
- statutorily authorized federal research, development, voluntary reporting, and demonstration programs addressing climate change; or
- implementation and enforcement of §821 (monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements)
- State Implementation Plan (SIP) provisions relating to GHGs and operating permit programs under CAA title V relating to limitations on GHG emissions to address climate change are not federally enforceable; are not deemed part of federal law; and are deemed stricken from the SIP, program, or permit. The EPA Administrator may not approve these provisions or make them federally enforceable.
- Provisions regarding SIPs and state permitting programs do not limit or otherwise affect the authority of a state to adopt, amend, enforce, or repeal state laws and regulations pertaining to the emission of a GHG.
Section 3.Preserving One National Standard for Automobiles
GHGs are excluded from CAA §209(b) waiver authority for new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines for model year 2017 or later.
» Cosponsors: Alexander (R-TN), Ayotte (R-NH), Barrasso (R-WY), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coats (R-IN), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Grassley, (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Heller (R-NV), Hoeven (R-ND), Hutchison (R-TX), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Johnson (R-WI), Kyl (R-AZ), Lee (R-UT), Lugar (R-IN), Manchin (D-WV), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Moran (R-KS), Murkowski (R-AK), Paul (R-KY), Portman (R-OH), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Sessions (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), Vitter (R-LA), Wicker (R-MS)
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said the Obama administration will soon announce its plans for a new rulemaking on greenhouse gas (GHG) limits for vehicles beyond model years 2016, Inside EPA reports.
From Inside EPA (subscription only):
“We are doing that right now,” LaHood said March 15 when asked whether EPA and the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working on a combined GHG vehicle rule for model years 2017 and beyond. “We’ll be making some announcements very soon,” LaHood told reporters following a speech he gave at an American Public Transportation Association conference in Washington.
EPA and NHTSA March 9 sent for White House Office of Management & Budget review their final rule that would establish a landmark combined rulemaking setting first-time vehicle GHG emission limits and stricter corporate average fuel economy limits.
The rule, which the administration intends to issue later this month, would apply to passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles for model years 2012 to 2016. The rule will cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 950 million metric tons and 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the affected vehicles, according to EPA.