EPA cools down global warming rule enforcement

The EPA is working to sooth Congressional jitters over its nascent greenhouse gas regulations; biomass fuel burners were granted a reprieve.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is working to sooth Congressional anxiety.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scaling back rules that regulate greenhouse gas emissions, giving biomass energy facilities a temporary reprieve.

Regulators will take more time to assess the environment impact of burning biomass at the behest of members of Congress who were weary of regulating what some view as an integral part of energy strategy in the United States, the Associated Press reports.

Some projects that use biomass for fuel include a partnership between British Airways and D.C.-based bioenergy firm Solena group, and a Swedish town that recycles animal and kitchen waste into fuel.

The AP obtained a letter penned by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson that read, "I hope you will see the steps described in this letter as following through on my prior commitment to exercise whatever discretion the Clean Air Act affords to avoid discouraging the use of renewable, domestically produced fuel in power plants and factories.”

The EPA is obligated to act to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in the case Massachusetts v. EPA, which classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant. A coalition of 12 states, and some local governments, sued to force a reluctant EPA to regulate greenhouse gasses from motor vehicles.

My co-blogger Melissa Mahony wrote about the EPA’s new regulatory regime taking effect at the start of the year, and the story sparked lively debate among SmartPlanet readers.

What do you think of the EPA’s latest decision?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com