Supreme Court Issues Decision on EPA's GHG Tailoring Rule

- by Erin Voegele, June 24, 2014, Biomass Magazine

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"139","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 222px; height: 221px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;"}}]]On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on the U.S. EPA’s Tailoring Rule. While the court invalidated a portion of the rule, it essentially held up EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for certain facilities, specifically those required to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit due to the emission of other regulated pollutants. The court’s ruling, however, did nothing to address the uncertainty faced by those in the biomass industry with regard to the EPA’s treatment of biogenic emissions.  

In its decision, the Supreme Court indicated that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority when it interpreted the Clean Air Act to require PSD and Title V permitting for stationary sources based on their GHG emissions. “Specifically, the agency may not [GHGs] as a pollutant for purposes of defining a ‘major emitting facility’ (or a ‘modification’ thereof) in the PSD context or a ‘major source’ in the Title V context. To the extent its regulations purport to do so, they are invalid. EPA may, however, continue to treat [GHGs] as a ‘pollutant subject to regulation under this chapter’ for purposes of requiring [best available control technology (BACT)] for ‘anyway’ sources,” wrote the Supreme Court in its decision.