EPA Chief Won’t Commit to Refinery Carbon-Emissions Rule

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will press Chinese leaders on climate issues this week.
National Journal
Ben Geman
March 6, 2014, 11:41 a.m.

HOU­S­TON — En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­trat­or Gina Mc­Carthy on Thursday de­clined to say wheth­er the agency would launch a rule­mak­ing to set car­bon-emis­sions stand­ards for re­finer­ies.

“We are simply fo­cused right now on the power-plant rule,” Mc­Carthy said, re­fer­ring to an up­com­ing pro­pos­al to set stand­ards for the na­tion’s power plants.

The fate of plans to even­tu­ally craft cli­mate-change rules for the na­tion’s re­finer­ies, a smal­ler emis­sions source than power plants, has been a ques­tion mark for years.

EPA, in a 2010 leg­al agree­ment with sev­er­al states and en­vir­on­ment­al groups, said it would write a re­finery reg­u­la­tion, but it hasn’t come to pass.

Mc­Carthy, speak­ing to re­port­ers at a ma­jor en­ergy con­fer­ence here, did not rule out launch­ing an ef­fort to set car­bon-emis­sions stand­ards for oth­er sta­tion­ary pol­lu­tion sources bey­ond power plants.

“We are talk­ing to all kinds of folks about what that [the power-plant rule] might mean for oth­er sta­tion­ary sources, but frankly this [the power-plant rule] is where my fo­cus is and will be,” she told re­port­ers at the IHS CER­AWeek con­fer­ence.

Pressed on the top­ic, Mc­Carthy said: “We are in lit­ig­a­tion dis­cus­sions and clearly that is not something I am go­ing to be talk­ing about today.”

“But we re­cog­nize and I think folks re­cog­nize that this [power-plant] rule is a very im­port­ant one. This is where my at­ten­tion is go­ing to be. That doesn’t mean that we won’t con­tin­ue dis­cus­sions with the lit­ig­ants. We cer­tainly will,” she ad­ded.

Re­finer­ies are the second-largest sta­tion­ary source of U.S. car­bon emis­sions.

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