Wednesday, June 22, 2011

House Members Introduce EPA Regulatory Relief Act

Jun 22: Responding to what they say are "urgent calls from job creators across a range of industries, bipartisan members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce have introduced H.R.2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011. The proposal, which directs EPA to develop achievable standards affecting non-utility boilers and incinerators and grants additional time for development of and compliance with the rules, was offered by Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), together with Representatives John Barrow (D-GA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Pete Olson (R-TX), Mike Ross (D-AR), and Steve Scalise (R-LA). The lawmakers said economic analyses have "projected that compliance with the rules as currently proposed could cost in excess of $14 billion, which could put more than 200,000 jobs at risk."
    In a joint statement the legislators said, "Our goal is simple. With the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, we are giving EPA the time it needs -- the time it has requested -- to address difficult technical issues and develop rules that are workable in the real world. Likewise, businesses, institutions, and facilities need adequate time to finance the new monitoring and control equipment that will be required to meet the new standards, to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, and to design, procure, install, test, train personnel, and start up equipment. Without regulatory relief, EPA's current rules endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide by forcing plant shutdowns and relocation of American manufacturing and jobs overseas. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the Obama administration, to see this type of common-sense relief become law."
    Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) lent his support to the legislation, endorsing what he called "the members' bipartisan approach to protecting jobs and pursuing sensible regulations." He said, "All year long, the Energy and Commerce Committee has focused on creating jobs and spurring economic growth. The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is exactly the brand of regulatory common sense we promised. This bill gives EPA the time it needs to write rules that make sense, and it gives businesses, schools, and other affected facilities the time they need to put the rules into action. This bill is proof positive that Members can work together to protect jobs and guard against regulatory overreach."
    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 [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 had sought in its motion to the court an extension to finalize the rules by April 13, 2012. Instead, the court granted EPA only 30 days and it issued the final rules on March 21, 2011.
    On May 16, 2011, EPA announced a temporary stay of the effective date of two of the rules (Boiler MACT and CISWI Rules), stating, "[t]he stay will allow the agency to seek additional public comment before requiring thousands of facilities across multiple, diverse industries to make investments that may not be reversible if the standards are revised following reconsideration and a full evaluation of all relevant data." The Members pointed out that, "The stay will last only until completion of the reconsideration process (or the judicial review of the rules if earlier). The stay does not apply to the other two rules and does not extend the compliance deadlines for any of the four rules." [See WIMS 5/16/11].
    H.R.2250 would stay the four proposed EPA rules including:
  • (1) National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, published at 76 Fed. Reg. 15608 (March 21, 2011).
  • (2) National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers, published at 76 Fed. Reg. 15554 (March 21, 2011).
  • (3) Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units, published at 76 Fed. Reg.15704 (March 21, 2011), and,
  • (4) Identification of Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That are Solid Waste, published at 76 Fed. Reg. 15456 (March 21, 2011).
    According to a release from the members, "to protect jobs and allow time for development of achievable standards," H.R.2250 would:
  • Provide EPA with at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new rules for boilers, process heaters, and incinerators;
  • Extend compliance deadlines from 3 to at least 5 years to allow facilities adequate time to comply with the standards and install necessary equipment;
  • Direct EPA, when developing the new rules, to adopt definitions that allow sources to use a wide range of alternative fuels; and, 
  • Direct EPA to ensure that the new rules are achievable by real-world boilers, process heaters, and incinerators and impose the least burdensome regulatory alternatives consistent with the President's Executive Order 13563.
    Access a release from the Members (click here). Access a fact sheet from the Members with links to background information (click here). Access legislative details for H.R.2250 (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]

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