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EPA sets the stage for carbon regulation

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The EPA has issued guidance to big polluters to become more energy efficient ahead of new rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing energy efficiency to nudge big polluters toward compliance ahead of its new greenhouse gas rules, according to press reports.

The EPA today announced a new initiative called best available control technologies, or BACT, that would offer guidance to coal power plants and manufactures about which emission reducing technologies are most appropriate for them.

Following the suggestions is mandatory when constructing new facilities and expansions of existing facilities, Reuters reports.

Industry advocates have argued that the guidelines are tantamount to a moratorium on building, while environmental groups believe that the EPA will hasten the adoption of new technologies.

The suggestions include upgrading boilers and other means to burn coal more efficiently using existing technologies. Other improvements focus on fuel savings and lowering emissions of fine particles into the air.

The agency opted not to force industry to adopt specific technologies, quelling industry fears about mandatory investments in expensive and potentially unproven technologies, according to Reuters.

In the absence Congressional action on climate change legislation, big polluters including cement makers, power plants, and refineries will be required to obtain permits from the EPA for greenhouse gas emissions starting on January 11.

Political opposition to the rules is likely to be mounted in the House of Representatives where numerous Republican candidates for chairperson of the House’s energy committee are not sold on climate change science, or are even opposed on religious grounds.

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure