Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)
The Issue, What has Happened?
The Boiler MACT is a significant EPA rulemaking effort that would require the use of Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for reducing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from institutional, commercial, and industrial boilers. The Boiler MACT would apply to boilers located at “major” sources of HAPs, those emitting 10 tons per year or more of a single HAP or 25 tons per year of any combination of HAPs. EPA estimates that there are approximately 13,800 of these boilers, which are generally located at large industrial or manufacturing plants.
Why is it Important?
The original Boiler MACT rule poses serious problems for the forest products manufacturing sector. The regulation would cost manufacturers billions of dollars in new technology and equipment to achieve MACT for only marginal air quality improvements and could force some of them off-shore.
EPA also has created a presumption that materials commonly used as fuels are wastes subject to the extremely costly and stigmatizing incinerator standards. This would not only impose billions of dollars in unreasonable costs, but it also would cause millions of tons of valuable materials to be diverted to landfills and replaced with fossil fuel.
AF&PA estimates that 20,000 direct jobs at mills are at risk. Another 85,000 at risk in communities and in the value chain. Rural communities would be especially hard hit.
Healthy, stable markets are the key component that encourage private forest landowners to maintain their position as forest stewards. Recent trends in the economy have limited some markets. A strong manufacturing sector supports the forest landowner and without demand for forest products landowners are motivated to convert their lands to non-forest uses. Extremely high costs for minimal improvement in air quality does not justify the unintended consequences of forcing manufacturing off-shore, loss of jobs, and threats to key markets for forest landowners.
What We’ve Done
Monitor and inform
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will update proposed air toxics standards for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators by the end of October 2011 and issue final standards by the end of April 2012.
EPA is also finalizing which non-hazardous secondary materials would be considered solid waste and which would be considered fuel, which would determine whether a material can be burned in a boiler or whether it must be burned in an incinerator.
Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Ron Wyden (OR), along with Senators Lamar Alexander (TN), Mary Landrieu (LA), Mark Pryor (AR) and Patrick Toomey (PA) have introduced bi-partisan legislation (S 1392) that would delay the rules, extend the compliance period from three to five years, provide a measure of certainty for industry, and to accept additional comments from the public. Hopefully, the measure will provide the time for EPA to develop a more achievable rule.
This bipartisan measure would ensure that the rules are delayed for a defined period, extend the compliance period from three to five years and provide some certainty for job creators. It also affords the EPA adequate time to re-propose the rules and accept additional public comments. This will provide the time necessary to review, revise and craft a rule that is realistic and achievable.
Similar legislation has been introduced in the House (HR 2250).