No, EPA Did Not ‘Ease’ Regulations on Industrial Boilers

By February 24, 2011Energy, Regulations

The headline and Associated Press article are from today’s Washington Post, page A4. The EPA’s press office will be surely pleased with the coverage, because it’s wrong.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released a new final rule that imposes much more intrusive and expensive regulations on emissions from industrial boilers. It increased regulations, not “eased” them.

An accurate headline would be: “EPA issues drastic new limits on emissions from industrial boilers, incinerators.”

And how about the AP lead?

“[The] Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that it will make it much cheaper for companies to reduce toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators.”

The EPA can say that, but it’s not true. As the NAM’s Alicia Meads explained Wednesday: “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.”

The American Forest and Paper Association summarized the issue well in its news release:

Businesses and other facilities across the country have invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few years to upgrade and improve their boilers to meet the previous EPA Boiler MACT requirements. Forcing billions more in investments to retrofit already environmentally good-performing boilers fails to allow targeting of scarce capital toward creating jobs and growing the economy in local communities supported by those facilities.

Our emphasis.

Adding billions of dollars in new costs does not make it cheaper to reduce emissions.

It’s as if the EPA had originally planned a new rule that would kick everyone in the head and after people protested, decided it would just kick them in the knees instead. It’s hard to believe the stories would read, “EPA eases new kicking rules, concussions reduced.”

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