|EPA issues guidelines on greenhouse gases|
|Written by Mason Souza, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 30 November 2010 20:25|
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hopes its guidelines for cutting greenhouse gas emissions will help make American industry cleaner and more efficient.
The guidelines, issued on Nov. 10, are the EPA’s first-ever national guidelines to reduce greenhouse gases. They become effective on Jan. 2, 2011.
The goal of the guidelines is to help industries reduce emissions to meet the Clean Air Act standards.
“We’re not talking about every industry; we’re talking about a fairly limited number of industries that emit a fairly substantial amount of the greenhouse gases in the state,” Doug Scott, Director of the Illinois EPA, said.
The Illinois EPA, like other state branches, is responsible for issuing the guidelines on a state level.
According to instructional assistant chemistry professor Thomas Zona, coal releases more carbon dioxide than natural gas and nuclear power, and is the biggest greenhouse gas offender.
Companies applying for EPA permits will be evaluated by an analysis called Best Available Control Technology.
“This BACT analysis is going to be done on a case-by-case basis so you have to evaluate the individual company or entity that’s coming to you for a permit, what their options are, what’s technically feasible for them, what’s most cost effective for them and then implement that,” Scott said.
The EPA has received backlash from some industries who claim the regulations on greenhouse gases will hinder their production and slow their growth, taking a negative toll on the economy.
Although the guidelines are not enforcing standards on their own, Zona said the recent consciousness of environmental issues will help the guidelines be better received.
“There is growing popular concern with the whole global warming greenhouse gas thing and insofar as there’s sort of a groundswell of motivation to do something about it; you can sort of expend public resources to deal with it but you’re not sort of under the gun to do it,” he said.
Though greenhouse gas emissions are a worldwide issue, Scott said Illinois ranks high among the nation’s greenhouse gas emitting states.
He pointed to Illinois’ coal fire power plants, transportation and industry that use large boilers as contributors to the states emissions.
“We’ve been working on this issue for some time, coming up with strategies on how to deal with greenhouse gases in the state and have been doing a lot of work on that and just implementing the U.S. EPA rule,” he said.
According to Scott, the main impetus behind working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is their impact on global climate change.
“The most ready impact that we can make is on carbon dioxide and the reason that it’s believed to be unhealthy to people is because if the earth warms up there will be greater amounts of disease. Disease tends to sort of be in areas where it’s warmer, the bugs can live longer – it’s a more habitable environment for microorganisms than cold places,” Zona said.