by Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter
OMAHA (DTN) -- An EPA official told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power Friday that the agency has no intention to regulate small greenhouse gas emitters including farms
Still, the EPA is in a better position to issue rules on greenhouse gases after a ruling this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court ruled in favor of the EPA on a group of consolidated lawsuits brought against the agency's greenhouse gas emissions tailoring rule. The DC court ruled that numerous plaintiffs including the American Farm Bureau Federation didn't have standing in the case.
Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, said the agency has no intentions to regulate farms.
In its ruling, the court shot down all of the legal challenges leveled against EPA resulting from the agency's endangerment finding in 2009.
"There are no permit requirements for farmers and ranchers," McCarthy said. "All our attention is focused on larger sources. Administrator (Lisa) Jackson has said that under no circumstances are we lowering the tailoring rule for small sources."
Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said there is concern the agency could be forced to regulate small emitters including farmers.
"Theoretically, if someone brought a lawsuit you would have to comply," he said. Whitfield added, "I think it is important to set out what the decision says and what it doesn't say, especially on the tailoring rule. We need to make clear that the court never addressed the legal merits of that very important rule."
EPA's tailoring rule allows the agency to implement GHG reduction measures in phases. For starters the agency is focusing its efforts primarily on power plants -- the largest GHG emitters.
During testimony given to the committee June 19, Pennsylvania farmer Carl Schaffer speaking on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the tailoring rule eventually will affect farmers.
"First, any costs incurred by utilities, refiners, manufacturers and other large emitters to comply with GHG regulatory requirements will be passed on to the consumers of those products, including farmers and ranchers," he said in his written testimony.
This will result, Schaffer said, in additional costs to farmers and ranchers who will face higher input costs.
Schaffer said although farms are not currently regulated by EPA as GHG emissions sources, farmers and ranchers "are already adversely affected by greenhouse gas regulations through paying higher fuel and energy costs."
Once title five in the Clean Air Act is fully implemented, he said, it will require thousands of farms and ranches to obtain "costly and burdensome permits."
EPA estimated that there are more than 37,000 farms and ranches that emit between 100 tons and 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year and would potentially be subject to GHG permitting requirements if EPA did not have the tailoring rule.
© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.
Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp