WASHINGTON (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency has extended a stay of the George W. Bush era Fugitive Emissions Rule, which would have weakened the agency’s ability to regulate polluters under the Clean Air Act.
Adopted in the closing days of the Bush administration, the rule allowed polluters to exclude emissions from sources other than smokestacks when determining if a Clean Air Act permit was needed to expand a facility.
Under the Obama administration, the agency quickly reversed course. It granted a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council to reconsider the rule and stayed the rule’s implementation until the agency could consider the impact of the rule changes.
That stay was set to expire in October 2011. The extension runs until October 2012, when the agency plans to publish a revised final rule on fugitive emissions.
In the mean time, the agency has adopted temporary rules, which explicitly state that all regulations changed by the Fugitive Emissions Rule have been suspended, and that the regulations in place before the rule was issued have been reinstated.