EPA climate rules take step forward

The Environmental Protection Agency is on the cusp of releasing guidelines to industrial polluters and states that spell out how to implement greenhouse-gas permitting rules that are set to begin taking effect next year.

The White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday received the “permitting guidance” from EPA for review, according to OMB's website.

Observers expect the document to address how facilities would meet the “best available control technology” standard for controlling or minimizing emissions.

Climate legislation died on Capitol Hill this year, so EPA is moving to limit emissions from power plants, refineries and other sources under its existing Clean Air Act powers.

“Right now this is the only responsible course of action for the EPA,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of the advocacy group Clean Air Watch.

But the pending release of the guidelines — which EPA expects very soon, according to Dow Jones — comes as opponents of EPA regulation are ramping up Capitol Hill efforts to block the agency.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is pushing legislation that would delay EPA rules for two years, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he plans to allow a vote on the measure this year.