EPA Likely to Offer Concessions on Final Air Toxics Rule for Boilers

Date: October 8, 2010

Source: News Room

The US EPA is considering concessions to its final air toxics rule for boilers in response to industry and lawmaker's assertion that it is unachievable, prohibitively costly and would cost thousands of jobs. A key concession would involve "subcategorizing" boilers to a set of varying air toxics standards depending on the type of boiler. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent a Sept. 28 letter to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) addressing a number of concerns that Landrieu and a bipartisan group of 41 senators raised about the boiler proposal. Jackson writes that "the final standards will most assuredly differ from the proposed ones. The Clean Air Act does not place our need to increase employment in conflict with our need to protect public health. EPA's final standards will not either." Industry and lawmakers had criticized EPA's original proposal for setting MACT standards that few boilers could actually achieve since it was based on scant real data. Jackson adds that EPA "is paying particular attention to the subject of biomass-fired boilers and process heaters," amid fears expressed by industry, lawmakers and labor unions that the proposed MACT standards would force many boilers burning biomass to switch to non-renewable fuels. Critics of the MACT contend that the rule as proposed would therefore undermine a key Obama Administration objective of increasing the use of renewable fuels.

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