On May 12, 2010, Senator John Kerry and Senator Joe Lieberman introduced the “American Power Act.” The Act is a broad sweeping proposed piece of legislation which addresses subjects ranging from the licensing of nuclear power plants to regulation of greenhouse gases. Key provisions of the proposed Act include:
- Amendment of the Clean Air Act to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases and establish limits for reduction of greenhouse gases.
- Establishes new performance standards under the Clean Air Act for new coal fired power plants.
- Streamlines the regulatory process for approval of nuclear power plants.
- Development of a plan for establishing a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage program.
- Directs states and municipalities to develop plans to reduce public transportation greenhouse gases.
- Key investments to promote the development of “green” energy sources and smart growth development.
- Inclusion of funding for emission allowances to be provided through utilities to lower income consumers to offset any increase in utility costs to these consumers.
The ambitious goal of the Act is to reduce greenhouse gases by over 80% by 2050 with a starting point of reducing greenhouse gases by 17% by 2020. Under the Act, utility sources will be the first to become subject to a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Utility sources which emit more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases are given until 2012 to reduce their emissions or purchase allowances in a national cap and trade auction to cover excess emissions. Industrial sources become subject to the greenhouse gas cap in 2016. While the Act does not specifically address regulation of sources which emit less than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year, the Act could serve as precedent for regulation of such sources.
On April 21, 2010, Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”) announced that President Obama chose Susan Hedman to serve as the new Regional Administrator for Region 5 of U.S. EPA. Region 5 of U.S. EPA encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Tribal Nations.
Hedman served as Environmental Counsel to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan since 2005. Prior to 2005, Hedman was a senior policy advisor for energy and recycling for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and staff attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, an advocacy group for environmental conservation causes.
- Generating or accumulating more than 220 pounds of hazardous waste for more than one calendar month at a time could require your business to obtain a hazardous generator waste permit.
- Businesses must use a licensed hazardous waste transporter to remove any hazardous waste from their business site.
- Disturbing or grading of more than one acre of land may require your business to obtain a storm water permit.