March 5, 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that they will keep greenhouse gas permitting thresholds at current levels. This guarantees that only the largest emitters of CO2, such as coal-fired power plants, will be required to obtain permits. This action is part of EPA's phased-in approach to greenhouse gas permitting under the Clean Air Act. In previous comment letters to the EPA on this issue, NAR recommended that the Agency not move forward with lowering the permitting thresholds, because of the fact that large office and apartment buildings could be included and be required to obtain a permit to emit CO2, which would have a detrimental impact on commercial real estate markets and economic development.
Currently, new and existing facilities that release at least 100,000 tons of CO2 are required to obtain an emissions permit. After evaluating the progress of this permitting program, EPA believes that it would not be feasible from an administrative perspective to lower the thresholds and bring in smaller sources of CO2 emissions because doing so would overwhelm state permitting authorities.