EPA revamps boiler rules to cut costs

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 24
-- The US Environmental Protection Agency issued revised Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators, saying it cut estimated costs by about 50% from the rules that it proposed last year.

EPA estimates its final rules lower the cost of pollution control installation and maintenance by about $1.8 billion/year less than its original proposal. The rules cover toxic emissions from some 13,800 large industrial boilers, including refineries and chemical plants.

The new boiler rule, known as the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule, sets standards to reduce air emissions of mercury, organic air toxics, and dioxins (OGJ Online, Feb. 4, 2011).

Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute director of science and regulatory policy, said he was reviewing the rule.

“API understands that EPA has finalized work practices for most gas-fired boilers and process heaters,” Feldman said. “We continue to believe that this is the appropriate control measure for all low-emitting gas-fired units. API is committed to work with the agency during its reconsideration period.”

In response to a September 2009 court order, EPA issued the proposed rules in April 2010, prompting significant public input. EPA made extensive revisions and in December 2010 requested additional time for review. The court granted EPA 30 days, resulting in the Feb. 23 announcement.

Because the final standards significantly differ from the proposals, EPA believes further public review is required. The agency said it will reconsider the final standards under a Clean Air Act process that allows it to seek additional public review and comment to ensure full transparency.

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