EPA Allowed Only One-Month Extension on Boiler MACT Issue
In a move that has disappointed the Forest Landowners Association, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has granted the Environmental Protection Agency an extension of only one month for the final release of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules; aka: Boiler MACT issue.
Owners of industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers - like many of our markets - will soon be required to comply with new, stricter EPA air-emission requirements. The new regulation, known as National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers, was issued in draft form by the EPA on April 29, 2010, and is expected to be finalized later this year. The regulation will affect thousands of boilers at facilities deemed to be major sources of hazardous air pollutants.
Regarding the extension, EPA cited an overwhelming number of comments on the proposed rule in its December request for either a six- or 15-month extension, past the January 16, 2011 deadline, to release the final rule. On that deadline date, the court granted another five days to allow it to mull over the request a bit longer. MACT rules include standards for area source and major source polluters, as well as commercial and institutional solid waste incinerators. The preferred option, 15 extra months, would have allowed for an entirely new proposal and another comment period.
An EPA spokesperson declined to comment on the decision, but released an official statement from the agency. "EPA is disappointed that the extension was not longer", said the spokesperson. "However, the agency will work diligently to issue these standards by this new deadline." EPA added that the final standards will be significantly different than the proposal, which was released last April.
Scott Jones, FLA CEO, expressed concern with the ruling. “We are very disappointed in the ruling by the court to grant only a one-month extension of the Boiler MACT rulemaking process," he said. “EPA has indicated an extremely high number of responses during their comment period, which gathered new information that they did not have as they drafted that final rule. When considering the quantity and quality of the comments, we believe that EPA made the right decision to ask for more time. It is perplexing that the court did not grant EPA’s request for the extension. The agency is now forced to unnecessarily rush to prepare the rule."
To learn more about these issues, or others affecting private forest landowners, please contact Frank Stewart or call (703) 549-0347.