EPA Proposes New Regulations for Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)November 25, 2009
The EPA last week proposed to strengthen the primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2). The new rule is the first time EPA has tightened controls for SO2 since 1971.
Surface Transportation Planning to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (LRB 3772/P2)
- Current Law
- Under current law, the Department of Transportation (DOT) may expend state and federal funds for transportation planning relating to highways, mass transit, railroads, and any other transportation mode.
- To the extent practicable, local governments, including regional planning commissions, must follow DOT’s recommendations relating to transportation. DOT has various other responsibilities relating to studying and planning, and assisting local governments in planning transportation systems in this state.
Cap-and-Trade Study (LRB 3301/P1)
- The DNR shall submit a report to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature and to the governor if any of the following occurs:
- Enactment of federal legislation creating a federal cap and trade program.
- Adoption of a federal regulation creating a federal cap and trade program.
- Recommendation of a regional cap and trade program by governors of Midwestern states, including the Governor of this state, that would be applicable to any person in this state.
- The DNR shall include in the report a description of the cap and trade program and recommendations on any legislation that would be necessary to implement the cap and trade program in this state. In preparing the report, the DNR shall consult with state agencies that would be affected by the cap and trade program.
Motor Vehicle Emission Standards - Adopting California Low Emission Vehicle Standards (LRB 3548/P1)
- Current Law
- Under the Clean Air Act, the federal Environmental Protection Agency sets limits on pollutants that may be emitted by motor vehicles.
- The CAA generally prohibits states from enacting motor vehicle emissions standards that differ from federal limitations. However, the CAA allows California to enact standards or limitations that differ from the federal limitations.
- The CAA allows other states to enact motor vehicle emissions limitations that are identical to the limitations imposed by California agency, the California Air Resources Board.
- Wisconsin Climate Change Legislation Provision
- The bill would create a new section (s. 285.305) that directs the DNR to promulgate rules specifying statewide emissions limitations for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles that are passenger vehicles and have gross vehicle weights of 10,000 pounds or less, that are identical to the California greenhouse gas emission standards under Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations.
- The DNR is required to amend its rules to maintain consistency with the California standards.
- The DNR may also promulgate rules specifying statewide emissions limitations for motor vehicles that are identical to the California emission standards for zero emission vehicles, if the DNR determines that those emission limitations are necessary for this state to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
- The provision also requires the DNR to study any greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations for motor vehicles, other than passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles that are passenger vehicles and have gross vehicle weights of 10,000 pounds or less, that California adopts after Oct. 1, 2009.
- The DNR shall report the results of the study, including its conclusion regarding whether it is necessary to adopt the California regulations, to the legislative committees with jurisdiction over environmental matters.
Environmental Permitting Incentives (LRB 2616/P2)
- Under current law, a person must generally obtain an air pollution construction permit from the DNR before constructing or modifying a stationary source of air pollution.
- Permitting and other requirements vary depending on whether a stationary source is considered a major source or a minor source.
- The EPA delegates to DNR the authority to administer the federal Clean Air Act in this state.
- Under current law, the DNR is required to assess air pollution permit obligations for stationary sources and to implement measures, consistent with state and federal law, to lessen those obligations, such as by expanding the availability of simplified permitting processes.
- This bill requires DNR to develop and implement measures to lessen permit obligations for the construction, reconstruction, replacement, or modification of a stationary source if all of the following apply:
- The owner or operate of the stationary source is not required to obtain a major source construction permit for the proposed project.
- The construction, reconstruction, replacement, or modification would significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
- The proposed project satisfies other requirements specified by the DNR by rule.
Energy Crop Reserve Program (LRB 3192/P2)
- This proposed law directs the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to establish and administer a program to subsidize the production of crops to be used for the production of fuel or energy.
- A person may participate in the program if the person owns or leases eligible land in this state and enters into a contract, with a term of up to ten years, with DATCP to grow and harvest eligible crops.
- Eligible crops include herbaceous perennials or short rotation woody crops.
- “Short rotation woody crop” is defined as a woody crop, including willows andpoplars, grown using agronomic practices.
- “Eligible land” is defined in the bill as land that is used for or susceptible for use for growing eligible crops.
- The following lands are not eligible for enrollment in the program:
- land owned by a municipality;
- federally owned land;
- land enrolled in certain federal agricultural programs; and
- land in native sod on the effective date of the bill.
- DATCP must designate, by rule, crops ineligible for payments under the program. A contract entered into under the program may be renewed. Further, a person may enter into more than one contract with DATCP under the program.
- A person participating in the program who grows eligible crops in compliance with sustainable planting and harvesting requirements, performance standards, and conservation practices established by DATCP, in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), may receive the following payments over the term of the contract:
- a percentage of the cost to establish the energy crops;
- income replacement payments related to income lost during the years the energy crops are not yet ready for harvest; and
- production payments for each ton of energy crop harvested and used to produce energy or fuel.
- DATCP must establish, by rule, the amount a person participating in the program may receive under the program in each payment category and over the term of the contract. The rules may vary the amount or percentage of each payment according to a number of variables, including the cost to produce the energy crop, the amount of energy or fuel produced from the energy crop, the agricultural or silvicultural practices employed by the participating person, and the extent to which the production and harvesting practices minimize life−cycle greenhouse gas emissions and maximize carbon sequestration.
- DATCP must annually report to the legislature, the Department of Administration (DOA), and the governor on the acres of land enrolled in the program, the number of tons and types of energy crops harvested under the program, and the costs of the program.
- This bill also requires DATCP and DNR to study whether financial incentives provided to bioenergy feedstock producers by state and federal programs, in effect on the effective date of the bill, are adequate to prompt the production of the maximum supply of biomass that can be produced sustainably in order to achieve state greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
- The bill requires DATCP and DNR to work with the Office of Energy Independence in DOA, the University of Wisconsin System, the Public Service Commission, and representatives of interested parties, including natural resources organizations, in the preparation of the study.
- If DATCP and DNR determine, as a result of the study, that current state and federal financial incentives are not adequate, DATCP and DNR must, by July 1, 2013, prepare and submit to the Climate Change Coordinating Council recommended changes to current law and proposed new legislation to induce bioenergy feedstock producers to sustainably increase their production of biomass in order to achieve state greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
- DATCP and DNR must consider, as part of the recommendations, methods to reduce financial risk to bioenergy feedstock producers and the expansion of programs that award credits to producers who reduce greenhouse gas emissions or use renewable resources in place of fossil fuels.
Energy Efficient Communities (LRB 3306/P2)
Proposed law makes changes to several programs that provide financial assistance to municipalities and counties to encourage activities that will result in a reduction of travel, energy use, and emission of greenhouse gases.