EPA won’t finish refinery rules in 2012

EPA, as part of a late 2010 settlement with several states and environmentalists, had initially hoped to complete the rules by mid-November of 2012.

“EPA expects to need more time to complete work on greenhouse gas pollution standards for oil refineries and does not anticipate” finalizing the standards this year, spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara said in an email. “EPA continues to work with the litigants to develop a new schedule."

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signaled the slow track for the regulations at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday, telling lawmakers “There are no current rules under development on that issue.”

Jackson told reporters that the agency is still planning to craft the standards.

“We have always had plans that we would go from the largest stationary [greenhouse gas emissions] source, which is utilities ... to the next largest, which is refineries,” she said.

Separate greenhouse gas rules for new and modified power plants have also faced delays. But Jackson said Tuesday that the agency still hopes to float those rules — which are under White House review — in draft form “early” in 2012.

Republicans and some conservative Democrats are battling the regulations. The House in 2011 approved GOP-led legislation to strip EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but the measure has not advanced in the Senate.

Industry groups have filed lawsuits challenging EPA’s regulatory authority over heat-trapping emissions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hold the second of two days of oral arguments Wednesday.