EPA Overreaches Again with New Regs on Industrial Boilers

By February 23, 2011Energy, General, Regulations

The Environmental Protect Agency today released its final regulation to impose stricter emission standards on industrial and commercial boilers and process heaters, known also as the Boiler MACT rule. (EPA News release, final rule.) The final rule applies to nearly all sectors of the National Association of Manufacturer’s membership, including the chemical, auto, metalworking, petroleum refining and forest and paper sectors. These new standards for industrial boilers will have an immediate impact on our members’ bottom line and their ability to create jobs.

While we are still reviewing the final rule, the NAM’s overriding concern is that compliance costs associated with the more stringent emission limits will hinder both small and large manufacturers’ ability to create jobs as the economy attempts to recover from the recession. Facilities with coal-fired boilers will still be subject to extremely stringent emissions limits.

To put this in perspective, one of our members companies has a facility with three large industrial coal-fired boilers. The company estimated that compliance costs under the proposed rule will cost the facility approximately $100 million to install scrubbers to control acid gases and activated carbon injection systems for certain metals. While this number may change slightly given the new rule, the costs are still significant at a time when manufacturers are trying to stay competitive in the global marketplace.

In addition, we still have significant concerns with EPA’s process of cherry picking the best data in setting each Hazardous Air Pollutant standard. The approach results in a combined set of standards for purely hypothetical boilers that may never have actually been achieved by any single, real world source.

The NAM believes that the EPA needs more time to re-propose the rules and seek additional public comment. We will be exploring our options to address our concerns in Congress, the Administration and the courts.

See also NAM’s statement, “EPA’s Boiler MACT Rule Will Cost Manufacturing Jobs.”

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