EPA to Reschedule Issuing Rules to Reduce Harmful Air Emissions From Boilers

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a motion in the federal District Court for the District of Colombia seeking an extension in the current court-ordered schedule for issuing rules that would reduce harmful air emissions from large and small boilers and solid waste incinerators.

The motion is based on the additional time the agency needed to re-propose the rules based on a full assessment of information received since the rules were proposed. The rules would cut emissions of harmful pollutants that include mercury and soot – pollutants known to cause a range of health defects from developmental disabilities in children to cancer, heart disease and premature death.

“After receiving additional data through the extensive public comment period, EPA is requesting more time to develop these important rules,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

The agency proposed standards in April 2010 in order to meet a court order requiring the EPA to issue final rules in January 2011. The agency requested and received some information from industry groups before the proposal. It received comments following the proposal which shed new light on a number of key areas. After reviewing the data and the more than 4,800 public comments, the agency believes it is appropriate to issue a revised proposal that reflects the new data and allows for additional public comment. This includes the scope and the coverage of the rules and the way to categorize the various boiler-types.

The agency has estimated more than 200,000 boilers operating in industrial facilities, commercial buildings, hotels and universities located in highly populated areas and communities across the country.

EPA is under a current court order to issue final rules on January 16, 2011 and is seeking in its motion to the court to extend the schedule to finalize the rules by April 2012.