Industry Files Dozens of Lawsuits over EPA Boiler and Incinerator Rules

Date: June 9, 2011

Source: News Room

So far, industry groups, companies, states and local officials have filed at least 38 separate lawsuits challenging a suite of EPA rules that includes a new source performance standard to cut criteria pollutant emissions from commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units; a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule to cut air toxics from boilers; a new rule defining solid waste for the purpose of determining whether a facility is subject to the CISWI rule or MACT; and a MACT for sewage sludge incinerators. The groups have filed the lawsuits despite the agency's delay of implementing the rules as it reconsiders some of the regulations to address industry concerns.

More than half of the suits filed so far in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit target the boiler and incinerator rules, which are the two regulations in the package that have drawn the strongest criticisms from Republican lawmakers and others for their cost and stringency. At least 15 suits challenge the boiler MACT and 15 target the CISWI rule. Critics of the two rules say there are major flaws including inaccurate emissions data that led to unachievable pollution control limits. EPA published the rules on March 21, but on May 16 said it was using its authority under the Administrative Procedure Act to stay implementation of the boiler MACT and CISWI rules so it can reconsider key provisions and review thousands of comments from industry and other stakeholders.

Under the Clean Air Act, stakeholders have 60 days to petition the court for review of the air rules in the package, a period that ended May 19. Groups looking to challenge the solid waste definition rule -- issued under Resource Conservation & Recovery Act authority -- have until June 19 to file suit.

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