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Commerce Department Predicts Huge Job Losses from EPA Boiler Rule

Date: November 11, 2010

Source: News Room

New analysis by the Department of Commerce (DOC) predicts many more job losses from EPA's air toxics rule for boilers than EPA predicted in its proposed version of the rule, raising stakes in the battle between the agency and industry critics who charge the rule will shut down facilities and hurt the economy. DOC's independent analysis of the economic impact of EPA's proposal to set national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for boilers projects job losses of 40,000 to 60,000 per year and predicts a decline in the international competitiveness of U.S. goods, even using EPA's conservative cost estimates. By contrast, EPA's June 4 proposal says the agency is not certain whether the rule will lead to job losses from facility closures and lower production, or whether it will lead to job gains from additional labor required for pollution abatement.

The boiler rule sets maximum achievable control technology (MACT) requirements to reduce air toxics emissions from boilers that are large enough to qualify as "major sources" of air toxics as required under the Clean Air Act and without consideration of costs. EPA can only consider costs and other impacts if it sets a standard more stringent than the minimum standard. The boiler MACT proposal is part of a suite of rules to control emissions from boilers, including an air toxics rule for smaller "area" sources of emissions, an air toxics rule for incinerators, and rule that defines solid waste to determine whether sources are subject to boiler rules or more-stringent incinerator rules.

Concerns from the department and other agencies about the possible economic impact of the boiler rule will likely come to the forefront when EPA sends its final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for inter agency review.

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