|Title:||United States fiscal budget for the Environmental Protection Agency in dollars for 2000 to 2011|
Start of full article - but without data
Fiscal Year In Billions
2011 FY 2011 Annualized CR Continuing Resolution $XX.X
2012 FY 2012 President's Budget $X.X
EPA's budget grew by nearly $X billion from 2009 to 2010, reflecting the
agency's XX major regulations and XXX new rules in the past two years.
Note: Table made from bar graph.
One of President Obama's goals when he was elected in 2008 was to establish comprehensive climate change legislation. However, after two years of failed attempts and a mid-term election that saw his party lose power in Congress, he announced he was abandoning efforts to establish climate change regulation though legislation.
Jeet Radia, senior vice president of McWane Inc., Birmingham, Ala., speculates that with cap and trade legislation abandoned in Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will carry the burden of regulating greenhouse gas.
"I think the Obama administration knows this is the only way to regulation now," Radia said. "They have two years for sure and maybe four years after that to make their progress, so they want to get as much done in two years, at least."
In the Supreme Court case Massachusetts vs. EPA, which was ruled on in April 2007, the court found EPA had the authority in existing legislation to regulate greenhouse gases from mobile sources if it determined the gases imposed a threat to public health. Following the ruling, EPA issued a draft proposal finding the gases do endanger the public health, but the Bush Administration refused to acknowledge it. In December 2009, with a new, amenable president in office, EPA was able to issue its final finding that greenhouse gases do endanger public health and the environment and obtain its foundation for regulating the emissions.
"Even though the Supreme Cour case had a focus on mobile sources, the endangerment finding opened the door to stationary sources," said Jeff Hannapel, vice president of regulatory affairs for The Policy Group, McLean, Va.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule
Before setting standards for greenhouse gas emissions, data on actual emissions from stationary sources needed to be gathered. An appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 directed EPA to establish a rule requiring facilities to report their greenhouse gas emissions, which set in motion the one set of regulations that has the most direct impact on metalcasters--the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. Starting Jan. X, 2010, facilities with XX, XXX metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from combustion units had to monitor and report their emissions. The deadline for reporting for 2010 was originally set for April X, but it has been extended until September as EPA resolves some issues on its electronic reporting system. The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule sets no standards for emissions; rather, it gives EPA an idea of current emission levels.
"Right now, it's more of a data gathering source," Hannapel said.
EPA continues to make changes to the reporting rule. In July 2010, the agency announced emissions from onsite industrial landfills with non-inert materials would also need to be part of the emissions calculations.
"Emissions from these landfills shouldn't be that great (for metalcasting facilities)," Hannapel said. "The significance is not so much in the details but in that we have a reporting rule and we have some add-ons. EPA is continuing to regulate."
In March 2010, EPA promulgated a light vehicle duty rule that mandated an increase in fuel economy and set a federal limit on greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes. It was the first time a federal limit for greenhouse gases had been established.
"It set in motion other Clean Air Act requirements," Hannapel said. "It became the trigger for regulating all facilities, which brings us to the Tailoring Rule."
The Clean Air Act stipulates thresholds for emitting a pollutant. According to Hannapel, if a company makes a modification to its facility that increases polluting emissions by XXX tons, or XXX tons for most ferrous metalcasting facilities, the company is required to obtain a "prevention of significant deterioration (PSD)" permit. If facility emissions are XXX tons, the company needs a Title V operating permit. However, greenhouse gases have so many sources, EPA determined the thresholds would have to be tailored to limit which facilities would be required to obtain those permits. Eventually, the agency settled on XX, XXX tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which would affect facilities responsible for XX% of the national greenhouse gas emissions from a stationary source.
According to EPA, without the Tailoring Rule, X million sources would have needed operating permits, and XX, XXX PSD permitting actions would have been required. With the rule, only XX, XXX sources will need operating permits, and X, XXX permitting actions per year will be needed to address greenhouse gas. The rule went into effect Jan. X, 2011, for facilities that were already subject to the rule due to emissions of another air pollutant and will go into effect July X, 2011, for all facilities.
"If a foundry emits more than XX,XXX tons or has the potential to emit more than XX,XXX tons a year, then it would be subject to this permitting rule," Radia said. "Or if a foundry wants to make a change in the operation, such as putting in a new line or cupola, or build a new facility, it would be subject to the rule if the change increased emissions by more than XX,XXX tons.
In the permitting process, facilities must prove the equipment and operations they are installing are the best available technology. However, best practices for reducing greenhouse gases have not been established, which could mean a long permitting process.
"In the past, if a change triggered PSD, a facility could go to a database for the best available control technology (BACT)," said Jim Schifo, vice president of Keramida Inc., Indianapolis. "Today, there is no database available for greenhouse gas control technology; therefore, no one is capable of making a simple BACT determination."
Schifo said that with other pollutants, such as particulate matter, filters can be used to cut emissions. But because greenhouse gases are products of combustion and gases, filters won't work. Other experimental methods, such as injected the gases into the ground, are unproven ox cripplingly expensive.
"Dealing with greenhouse gas, there is no end-of-pipe control," Radia said. "They are researching some experimental technologies, but they would be more amenable to large power plants and refineries, not metalcasting facilities."
Rather than cap the gas, EPA may switch focus to ensuring the process and equipment are energy efficient.
Preparing for Future Rules
For now, Radia is unconcerned about the current Tailoring Rule as it pertains to the metalcasting industry. McWane's iron pipe casting facilities are some of the largest casting plants in the U.S., and only a couple of them are near the XX,XXX-ton threshold.
"As it sits now, I'm not worried about this rule because our facility is not that impacted," he said. "I can't imagine that other metalcasters other than pipe produce more than XX, XXX tons. And then, we wouldn't make a change big enough to trigger the need for a permit."
Radia may not worry about triggering the current rule, but he does regard the rule with forewarning. When EPA set the current threshold at XX, XXX tons, the agency indicated it was only the beginning. By April 2016, it expects to complete a rule further addressing Clean Air Act permitting for smaller sources, if needed.
"We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans and contributes to climate change," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in December 2010 when announcing the agency's plan for establishing greenhouse gas pollution standards.
With the possibility of the tailoring requirement lowering in the coming years, Radia urges metalcasters to be prepared.
"Every metalcaster should look at how much greenhouse gas it is emitting," he said. "Right now the only thing [a metalcasting facility] can do is become more energy efficient. Look at using your cupola so that you aren't burning as much coke. Look at your energy usage profile. Do an energy audit to see areas where you can cut down energy use, particularly in combustion processes."
Schifo also recommends metalcasters become involved with industry groups, such as the American Foundry Society, which has a committee dedicated to air quality.
"It's important to share data and information with the industry through these groups so other metalcasting facilities can address the issues in the same manner and we don't have to reinvent the wheel," Schifo said. "We all know this is going to be an issue; we don't have to wait for a crisis to address it."
Regulation as Energy Policy
A few metalcasters may be directly impacted by the current tailoring rule, but many more are indirectly impacted through the regulatory burden placed on refineries and power plants.
"What is significant about the other categories getting greenhouse gas limits is that they are increasing their regulatory costs and increasing the cost of their product, i.e. energy," Hannapel said. "So energy costs are going to go up for metalcasting facilities."