reported today that the EPA regulations on GHG emissions took effect yesterday, requiring new and upgraded power plants to install technology to reduce GHGs. Further, these plants have to obtain permits demonstrating that they’re best practices to minimize GHG emissions.

A 2007 Supreme Court decision relating to the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to establish rules requiring facilities emitting over 25,000 tons of GHGs/year to install this new technology and have a permit stating such. The EPA estimates over 400 new sources/modifications would be subject to review, and 14,000 large sources would need to obtain permits.

Despite the 2007 Supreme Court decision, the US Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit challenging the authority of the EPA to regulate GHG emissions. In response to the lawsuit, Tim Smith, Senior Vice President of Walden Asset Management, sent letters in August 2010 to 35 companies that sit on the Chamber’s Board, noting that “the Chamber is obstructing progress as it speaks out and lobbies against positive policy solutions addressing climate change” (

Following the November election, a coalition of 259 investors with more than $15 trillion in assets under management issued a statement calling for “clear, credible, and long-term policy frameworks that shift the risk-reward balance in favor of less carbon-intensive investment” (

The EPA also announced last week its plan for GHG pollution standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries. These standards will be proposed in July 2011 (power plants) and December 2011 (refineries). Final standards will be issued in 2012.

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What do you think about the regulations imposed by the EPA? Do you think they’re adequate, and do they have the authority to impose them? Do you think the investors have more power than the government on these issues? Discuss!