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Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting tough on lowering greenhouse gas emissions, small businesses may be reprieved from potential new regulations.
The proposed EPA greenhouse gas rule would require large industrial facilities-- those emitting 25,000 tons or more of greenhouse gases per year-- to reduce 6 greenhouse gases by utilizing new technology and increasing energy efficiency at their facilities. The EPA estimates that such large operations are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The new greenhouse gas rule would apply to power plants, refineries, and factories-- which produce 20% of carbon dioxide emissions in the country. Notably, however, it would not apply to farms, restaurants, and other small businesses. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with other business groups, have been vocal in warning against holding small business to the proposed regulations. They foresee the rules imposing a heavy burden on small businesses who are just trying to survive the economic downturn.
What does this mean for small business?
Essentially, it buys time. Considering the path being pursued towards greening industry and business, small business regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage are likely not far off. With the reprieve, small businesses are afforded the opportunity to observe how larger industries adapt, which technologies and improvements render the most effective results, and how greenhouse gases can be reduced in a cost-effective way. Then, as emission laws continue to evolve, small businesses can incorporate best practices into their own operations, staying one step ahead of the greenhouse gas curve.
The EPA's new greenhouse gas rule is anticipated to go into effect in Spring 2010.