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EPA issues final boiler MACT rule


From the January 7, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published January 7, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson
Editor
The Environmental Protection Agency late last month made its final adjustments to its maximum achievable control technology standards for boilers under the Clean Air Act. The final boiler MACT rule, which was signed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Dec. 20, applies to industrial boilers, a limited number of utility boilers and certain solid waste incinerators.

The EPA proposed the rule in March 2011, then made some adjustments in December 2011 in an effort to reduce the rule's costs and to address comments from industry groups. In announcing the final rule, the EPA said it expects that 99 percent of the 1.5 million boilers in the United States either will not be covered by the new rule, or will be able to meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups.

Because of the changes made in the rule, emission reductions of mercury, hydrogen chloride and sulfur dioxides will be greater than originally estimated when the agency issued the rule in March 2011, the EPA said in a fact sheet. Reductions of other pollutants, including particulate matter, non-mercury metals and volatile organic compounds, will be lower, the agency said.

The final standards will be effective when the rule is published in the Federal Register. Existing sources will have three years to comply and can ask for an additional year. 

The EPA said the yearly cost to carry out the new rule will be about $1.5 billion. The costs per boiler are expected to decrease, compared to the March 2011 version of the rule, "because of data-driven changes to the emission limits, including less stringent requirements for particle pollution controls for biomass units," the EPA said.

More information about the boiler MACT rule is posted on the EPA's website.

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