Murkowski slams EPA response to climate rule queries

EPA does not plan to begin imposing rules on stationary sources like power plants and factories until 2011, and is also vowing a slow phase-in from there.

Jackson’s letter last week says a “very high-end” estimate is that the agency would receive 3,000 Clean Air Act permit applications that include greenhouse gases in 2013, and that small sources would not need to undergo permitting for greenhouse gas emissions until 2016 at the earliest.

“In any event, I believe there is every reason to expect that Congress will enact a comprehensive program to address greenhouse gas pollution – a program that settles any questions about small sources – before 2016. I hope you share that expectation,” Jackson writes.

But Murkowski said Monday that Jackson failed to adequately answer many of the questions she had asked the agency. Murkowski is seeking information on a wide range of issues, such as examples of the smallest sources EPA might regulate, and the extent of EPA economic analysis of its plans.

Murkowski has floated a proposal that would nullify EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. But Murkowski recently said she would hold off on her plan while she waits to see whether to Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) less sweeping plan gains traction.

His measure would impose a two-year freeze on EPA regulation of stationary sources.