Key Senators Hail EPA Boiler MACT Delay, Industry Relieved for Now

Date: May 23, 2011

Source: News Room

Industrial energy consumers have received at least temporary repreive from higher energy costs since the EPA's decision to indefinitely delay the effective date of its controversial new air toxics rules for industrial boilers and incinerators. The delay won plaudits from two key senators -- Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) -- who say delaying the rules should allow time for the agency to revise the requirements to address industry concerns. At issue is a May 16 announcement by EPA that it was using its authority under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to delay, or "stay," its MACT standard for boilers and new source performance standard (NSPS) for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units. The move came in response to industry petitions seeking an immediate and indefinite delay of the rules' May 20 effective date.

However, environmental groups including EarthJustice and Sierra Club are criticizing what they see as an illegal decision and could be girding for a lawsuit.

The stay will be in place until either EPA completes its reconsideration of the rules or pending litigation over the rules is resolved. Industry groups and environmentalists have filed suit over the boiler MACT, CISWI and related rules defining solid waste and setting emissions limits for sewage sludge incinerators. In a statement announcing the stay, EPA argues the delay would offer "additional opportunities for public input," which would "ensure that any final standard will be informed by input and feedback from key stakeholders, including the public, industry and public health communities."

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