On February 21, 2011, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final rule affecting industrial boilers, commercial and institutional boilers, and incinerators. The final rule was submitted that day for publication in the Federal Register.
EPA’s notice states that the types of boilers and incinerators covered by these updated standards include:
1. Boilers at large sources of air toxics emissions - EPA estimates that there are about 13,800 boilers located at large emission sources including refineries, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities. The new standards will reduce emissions mercury, organic air toxics and dioxins at a cost estimated by EPA to be $1.5 billion less than its proposed standard. EPA adds that estimated health benefits to children and the public associated with the reduced emissions from these boilers are $22 billion to $54 billion in 2014.
2. Boilers located at small sources of air toxics emissions - EPA estimates that there are about 187,000 boilers located at small emissions sources including universities, hospitals, hotels and commercial buildings that may be covered by these standards. EPA has limited the impact of the final rule making on these small entities because of their smaller amount of emissions. EPA notes that the original standards for these sources “have been dramatically refined and updated to ensure maximum flexibility for these sources, including for some sources, revising the requirement from maximum achievable control technology to generally available control technology. The cost reduction from the proposed standard to the final is estimated to be $209 million.”
3. Solid waste incinerators - EPA states that there are 88 commercial or industrial solid waste incinerators, including cement manufacturing facilities. Facilities will be required to meet the new standards by 2016 at the latest and the standards will affect emissions of mercury, lead, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide and particle matter. EPA estimates a cost reduction from the proposed standard at $12 million.
Appeals of the final rule must be filed within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register, but only issues raised during the public comment period may be appealed.
In addition to announcing the final rule on February 21, EPA announced that it will reconsider a number of what it called “difficult technical issues” that were raised during the comment period on the proposed rule. The reconsideration process has not yet begun but EPA identified issues for reconsideration that include revisions to the major subcategories in the major source boilers rule, establishment of a fuel specification in the major source boilers rule through which gas-fired boilers that use a fuel other than natural gas may be considered Gas 1 units, establishing work practice standards for limited use major source boilers, establishment of standards for biomass and oil-fired area source boilers based on generally available control technology, revision of the proposed subcategory for energy recovery units for CISWI units, establishment of fuel switching provisions for CISWI units, revision of the proposed definition of CISWI to exclude cyclonic burn barrels, and providing an affirmative defense for malfunction events for area and major source boilers and for CISWI units.
EPA will provide additional information on its reconsideration process and the public comment period on these and other issues when the notice of reconsideration is published.
This article was authored by Skipp Kropp, Jackson Kelly PLLC. For more information on the author see here.