On Dec. 10, 2008, the EPA announced it had abandoned its plan to finalize two controversial New Source Review (NSR) rules. The proposed rules modified the way emissions were modeled for facilities wishing to build near national parks and when existing power plants must add additional air pollution control devices. The direction of any revisions to the NSR rules will have to wait until the Obama Administration takes charge. However, on Dec. 12, 2008, the Department of the Interior finalized an interim rule designed to prevent the Endangered Species Act (ESA) from being used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The new rule eliminated 35-year-old regulations that required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to perform an independent scientific review of proposed federal projects to determine whether they imperil protected plants and animals — a process often criticized by homebuilder groups and the oil and gas industry for delaying costly projects. If not overturned, federal agencies undertaking projects will make their own assessment. Environmental groups vowed to fight this change and President-elect Barack Obama said he would reverse the rule changes, as have some members of Congress who are threatening to invoke the rarely used Congressional Review Act to overturn the regulations.

Link to Washington Post article.

Link to Los Angeles Times article.

Link to DOI news release.