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Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 12/22/2010

EPA to regulate carbon from power plants, refineries

By Juliet Eilperin

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday will announce details of how it will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries, according to several sources, targeting the biggest single sources of the nation's annual carbon output.

The move stems from legal agreements the agency has reached with state attorneys general and environmental groups in two separate suits concerning what sort of performance standards EPA can require under the Clean Air Act. Under the timeline EPA plans to unveil, it will issue a draft performance standard for utilities in July that will become final by May 2012, and will also issue a proposed standard for utilities in a year that would become final in November 2012.

Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, said the timetable shows that the states as well as EPA are working to curb emissions linked to climate change "despite the change in Congress."

"The EPA is going to deal with the very biggest sources first," he said.

In response to an inquiry about the announcement, EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy wrote in an e-mail Wednesday: "We have nothing to announce at this time. But as we have made clear, any regulatory decisions will be guided by sound science and stakeholder input, and encourage deployment of clean technology, while cutting greenhouse gas pollution and providing certainty to key industries in this country."

By Juliet Eilperin  | December 22, 2010; 5:54 PM ET
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