On March 21, 2011, U.S. EPA issued final air toxic standards for industrial and commercial boilers.  The rules regulated emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters located at major sources of HAP emissions (the "Major Source Boiler MACT").  The EPA also issued final rules regulating emissions from commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units (the "CISWI Rule"). 

While the rules were issued, EPA also announced that it would reconsider the rules to address certain technical issues.  Some of those technical issuesunder EPA review include:

  • Revising major subcategories in the major source rule;
  • Establishing work practice standards for limited use major source boilers;
  • Standards for biomass and oil-fired source boilers based on available control technology; and
  • Providing an affirmative defense for malfunction events.

The effective date for each of the new rules was supposed to be May 20th.  However, the industry has provided significant input that the standards are not realistic and will be too costly. A number of business associations filed motions for reconsideration and requested a stay of the effective date while EPA completed its reconsideration of the rules.

Yesterday, EPA announced it  has issued a temporary stay of their effectiveness and will seek comments through July 15, 2011. 

Thus, the long and winding road of this rule package just got a little longer.  The Agency consistently seems to miss the mark necessitating pulling back from its proposals and gathering more data. 

Below is a portion of U.S. EPA’s announcement:

Following the April 2010 proposals, the agency received more than 4,800 comments from businesses and communities, including a significant amount of information that industry had not provided prior to the proposals. Based on this input, EPA made extensive revisions to the standards, and in December 2010 requested additional time for review to ensure the public’s input was fully addressed. The court only granted EPA 30 days, resulting in the February 2011 final rules. The agency is reconsidering the standards because the public did not have sufficient opportunity to comment on these changes, and, as a result, further public review and feedback is needed.

EPA will accept additional data and information on these standards until July 15, 2011.