From Acme Brick to Zelazoski Wood Products, 363 businesses and associations have asked members of Congress to insert a provision delaying the Environmental Protection Agency's rules for emissions from industrial and commercial boilers as part of any payroll tax-cut extension legislation.
Known as Boiler-MACT, the EPA rules are meant to protect Americans from mercury, soot, lead and other harmful pollutants released by boilers and incinerators. But industry groups complain the regulations will cost $14 billion to implement and jeopardize more than 200,000 jobs.
In March 2011, EPA published four final rules applying to more than 200,000 boilers – and simultaneously said it would reconsider certain aspects of the rules because the public had not had sufficient time to comment. On May 16, the EPA announced it would delay the effective date of two of the rules.
The Sierra Club challenged the stay, and in January, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Paul Friedman ruled that the EPA’s delay was unlawful. The court called the regulations “long overdue” and said the delay was arbitrary and capricious.
“The Court acknowledges that vacating the Delay Notice likely will have an effect on industry facilities throughout the country: they will finally, more than 12 years after a clear congressional mandate, have to comply with overdue Clean Air Act emission standards,” Friedman wrote.
The decision is not sitting well with industry. In the Feb. 1 letter to Congress, the groups wrote that the decision “is yet another example of the continuing morass of uncertainty surrounding the rules. There is also a troubling track record of courts overturning past Boiler MACT rules after determining EPA misclassified solid wastes – a problem the legislation would solve.”
The groups also complain that the rules do not provide enough time for capital planning and compliance, and that important biomass materials are not listed as fuels.