EPA Seeks Boiler MACT Extension

In a motion filed December 7 in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked for an extension in the current court-ordered schedule for issuing its Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule for industrial boilers (Boiler MACT), which proposes to reduce potentially harmful air emissions from large and […]

In a motion filed December 7 in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked for an extension in the current court-ordered schedule for issuing its Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule for industrial boilers (Boiler MACT), which proposes to reduce potentially harmful air emissions from large and small boilers and solid waste incinerators.

EPA is under a current court order to issue final rules on January 16, 2011 and is seeking in its motion to the court to extend the schedule to finalize the rules by April 2012. EPA said additional time is needed for the agency to re-propose the rules based on a full assessment of information received since the rules were proposed.

“After receiving additional data through the extensive public comment period, EPA is requesting more time to develop these important rules,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

“We want to ensure these rules are practical to implement and protect all Americans from dangerous pollutants such as mercury and soot, which affect kids’ development, aggravate asthma and cause heart attacks,” McCarthy added.

EPA’s original Boiler MACT rule proposal was met with heavy critisism from industry groups who charged that the new rule created excessive air regulations and would have a devastating impact on manufacturing jobs across the country, specifically the wood bioenergy, pulp and paper and forest products industries.

In order to meet a court order requiring the EPA to issue final rules in January 2011, the agency proposed standards in April 2010. While EPA requested and received some information from industry before the proposal, the comments EPA received following the proposal shed new light on a number of key areas, including the scope and coverage of the rules and the way to categorize the various boiler-types. Industry groups and others offered this information during the public comment period after EPA proposed the rule.

After reviewing the data and the more than 4,800 public comments, the agency said that it believes it is appropriate to issue a revised proposal that reflects the new data and allows for additional public comment.

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