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EPW Policy Beat: Endangering Farmers, the Elderly, and Construction Workers
March 26, 2009

Posted by: Matt Dempsey (202)224-9797




EPW Policy Beat: Endangering Farmers, the Elderly, and Construction Workers



Once EPA makes a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare under the Clean Air Act, who, specifically, would be affected?  As EPA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) makes clear, an endangerment finding would lead to regulations covering nearly every facet of the American economy.  In reading through comments filed in the regulatory docket, one is struck by how broadly the Clean Air Act would apply once an endangerment finding is made—especially to sources that have hitherto never come under the ambit of the Act.  EPA received thousands of public comments from various industries and groups that expressed concern and outright opposition—on issues of cost, competitiveness, jobs, and administrative complexity—to greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA.  The following excerpts, taken from comments filed on the ANPR, speak for themselves:



American Association of Housing Services for the Aging


Link to Letter


“The members of AAHSA ( help millions of individuals and their families every day through mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations dedicated to providing the services that people need, when they need them, in the place they call home. Our 5,700 member organizations, many of which have served their communities for generations, offer the continuum of aging services: adult day services, home health, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes.


“AAHSA opposes regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act is not suited to regulate greenhouse gases, as the EPA administrator and several other federal agencies have opined. In addition, if the EPA regulates greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, many AAHSA members could be subject to costly and burdensome Clean Air Act programs. For example, health care facilities with 51,000 square feet or greater would be subject to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting requirements. This would require such facilities to get a PSD permit prior to new construction or modifications... Finally, there is also the possibility that health care facilities would need to obtain Title V operating permits from the EPA one year from when greenhouse gases become regulated, which would add to the already stressed budgets of nonprofit health care facilities.”



Family Dairies USA


 Link to Letter


“Family Dairies USA is a dairy cooperative with 3600 members located in a six state area in the Upper Midwest of the United, States.  Our members are involved in production Agriculture meaning that a majority of them produce the crops that feed the cows that produce the milk which feeds the nation…We are opposed to the current regulations relating to greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act as it relates to production agriculture.


“Title V requires that any entity emitting more than 100 tons per year of regulated pollutant must obtain a permit in order to continue to operate. EPA has no choice but to require these permits once an endangerment finding is made.  USDA has stated that any operation with more than 25 dairy cows emits more than 100 tons of carbon and would have to obtain permits under Title V in order to continue to operate if GHG are regulated. Title V is administered by the states, and permit fees (tax) varies from state to state. EPA sets a "presumptive minimum rate" for permits, and that rate is $43.75 per ton for 2008-2009. For states charging the $43 .75 per ton rate, the cow fee (tax) for dairy would be $175 per cow.


“The cow tax would impose a significant added cost for our dairy farmers that cannot easily be absorbed…Imposition of the tax will cause many operators to go out of business and would likely raise prices for the products they produce.”



Mark Magney, President, Magney Construction


 Link to Letter


“We are a mid-sized construction firm…We employee 30 full time staff and have been in business since 1994. We primarily engage in the construction of Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities throughout the upper Midwest We believe that the CAA is ill-suited for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and that EPA should not move forward with a proposed rule or other regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the CAA.  Doing so could easily delay, if not halt, all future building and highway construction. New construction and renovation are vital to our economy and to future improvement of the environmental performance of our nation's infrastructure, and must be allowed to continue.”





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