EPA proposes rules on greenhouse gas permits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed new rules to ensure factories and power plants will be able to obtain permits they will need to emit greenhouse gases starting next year.

The proposed rules, which the EPA wants to finalize before January 2 next year, are largely an administrative measure that is necessary for the agency to implement its mandate to take steps on emissions blamed for warming the planet.

Earlier this year, the EPA finalized rules that require factories and power plants starting next year to get air permits for emitting greenhouse gases when they retool or add capacity. Those rules cover large industrial facilities that are responsible for 70 percent of the emissions from stationary sources.

Thursday’s rules “will help ensure that these sources will be able to get those permits regardless of where they are located,” the EPA said in a release.

The rules would “require permitting programs in 13 states to make changes to their implementation plans to ensure that (greenhouse gas) emissions will be covered.”

The permitting plans are in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

The agency will take comment on the proposal for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

They would also require other the states to tell the EPA if they have permit plans on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The EPA will hold a hearing on that proposal on August 25 and will accept comment for 30 days after the hearing.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Tom Doggett; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sofina Mirza-Reid