This bill is a joke; largely written by lobbyists, it will do essentially nothing to reduce coal burning…and, it removes the EPA’s recently won authority to regulate CO2 emissions. We’d be better off with nothing. link
Specifically, the Waxman-Markey bill prohibits any greenhouse gas, including CO2, from being listed as a “criteria pollutant”2 or a “hazardous air pollutant”3 on the basis of its effect on climate change. The bill does not permit greenhouse gases to trigger New Source Review,4 nor affect the granting of a permit to operate under Title V5 of the Clean Air Act.
The EPA is further prohibited from regulating greenhouse gas emissions as international air pollutants6 or setting technology-based standards for any capped sources7. What all of this language means is that if the Waxman-Markey bill passes, the EPA’s hands will be tied and it will not effectively be able to use the Clean Air Act to reduce global warming pollution.
Consequences of Elimination of EPA Authority
This policy choice to strip the EPA of authority to reduce greenhouse gas pollution has a number of negative implications; foremost among them is that, as currently constituted, the Waxman-Markey bill is likely to undermine investment in technology development. First, it undermines the certainty of regulation associated with the Clean Air Act, which has been a significant technology driver in the past. Second, it allows use of offsets until approximately 2030, putting off any need for immediate investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.