Industry Wants Controversial Compliance Option for Boiler MACT

Date: April 9, 2010

Source: News Room

An industry coalition is asking EPA and the White House to back a risk-based compliance option to maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for industrial boilers and biomass facilities. MACT dictates that facilities would be required to deploy technology that meets or exceeds the average of the top 12 percent of best performing sources. Industry groups, including the petroleum, automaker and paper sectors are pushing for the risk-based "off-ramp" and a modified approach that would instead set limits based on a facility-specific risk assessment.

The rule is expected to set limits for five key air toxics, including mercury and other metals, organics, dioxin and hydrogen chloride. Industry worries that if EPA could adopt rules that might be impossible to meet and add $46 billion in new costs. As a result, industry is urging EPA to correct what it says are biases in the data the agency collected to support the upcoming proposal and accept comments on varying approaches to meet the standard.

In addition to pressing its case to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), industry has also urged lawmakers to back the effort. Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have written letters to OMB and EPA seeking flexible approaches for meeting the boiler MACT, including "health threshold standards." On top of the adverse economic impact, some including the AF&PA say that strict MACT rules might have the perverse effect of encouraging facilities to burn more coal along with biomass to qualify for less stringent emission limits.

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin