On February 23, 2011, in response to Federal court orders in Sierra Club v. EPA requiring the issuance of final standards [See WIMS 1/21/11], U.S. EPA issued final Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators -- the so-called "Boiler MACT" rules -- that EPA says will achieve significant public health protections through reductions in toxic air emissions, including mercury and soot, but cut the cost of implementation by about 50 percent from an earlier proposal issued last year [See WIMS 2/23/11]. In response to a September 2009 court order, EPA issued the proposed rules in April 2010, prompting significant public input. The proposed rules followed a period that began in 2007, when a Federal court vacated a set of industry specific standards proposed during the Bush Administration. Based on the public input received following the April 2010 proposal, EPA made extensive revisions, and in December 2010 requested additional time for review to ensure the public's input was fully addressed. EPA was seeking in its motion to the court an extension to finalize the rules by April 13, 2012. Instead, the court granted EPA 30 days, resulting in February 23 announcement.
Harman said, "Today, we are collectively filing a petition with the EPA to stay the Boiler MACT and CISWI rules while issues with the rules are addressed. Without a stay, the rules published in the Federal Register on March 21 are set to become effective next month. EPA already has announced it plans to reconsider major parts of the rules. While it is apparent that extensive changes are still needed to the rules, businesses cannot plan effectively in the face of this uncertainty. The Boiler MACT and CISWI rules are interrelated, and businesses need adequate lead-time to prepare once the rules are indeed finalized. A stay is a necessary first step to ensure that resources are spent where they will ultimately be needed to make the greatest difference and that companies will not lose compliance time during the continuing rulemaking.
"Within our request are detailed accounts from forest product companies showing the serious harm that would occur should any part of the three-year implementation period be taken up by EPA's reconsideration. Not only could hundreds of millions of dollars be wasted designing a compliance plan for a rule that become obsolete, but precious compliance time could also be lost if the rule is not stayed. EPA has the authority to stay these rules, and we are asking it to exercise that authority. Our current capital cost estimate for the forest products industry exceeds $4 billion, and as our technical experts delve deeper, their concerns about achievability and cost are growing. We anticipate that the capital cost for all industrial sectors from Boiler MACT alone to be over $14 billion, plus billions more in annual operating costs. We will continue to work with the Administration toward a more affordable and achievable set of Boiler MACT and CISWI rules."
Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) also issued a statement saying, "EPA is reconsidering major portions of these rules, and businesses should not be asked to comply until final requirements are clear. Otherwise, businesses could spend millions, if not billions, to comply with rules that may change. A stay would avoid premature and potentially misguided expenditures and allow companies to keep their immediate focus on expansion, hiring and growth."
The Coalition of industry organizations includes: American Forest & Paper Association, National Association of Manufacturers, American Chemistry Council, American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute, American Home Furnishings Alliance, American Iron and Steel Institute, American Municipal Power, Inc., American Petroleum Institute, American Wood Council, Biomass Power Association, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, Corn Refiners Association, Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, Florida Sugar Industry (joined by sugarcane processors in Texas and Hawaii), National Oilseed Processors Association, Rubber Manufacturers Association, Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, Treated Wood Council, and their members (collectively the "Petitioners").
According to the petition to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the petitioners, "respectfully request an immediate stay of (1) the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, 76 Fed. Reg. 15,554 (Mar. 21, 2011) (Docket No. EPAHQOAR20020058) (the "Boiler rule"), and (2) the Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units, 76 Fed. Reg. 15,704 (Mar. 21, 2011) (Docket No. EPAHQOAR20030119) (the "CISWI rule") pending reconsideration.
Access the statement from AF&PA (click here). Access the statement from ACC (click here). Access the 58-page petition (click here). Access links to the final rules, fact sheets, and regulatory impact analyses for each of EPA's regulatory actions (click here). Access more information from EPA's Emissions Standards for Boilers and Process Heaters and Commercial / Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators website (click here). [*Air, *Toxics]