The wood industry has plenty of potential for adding jobs, at a time the U.S. economy really needs them. So the request Sept. 2 by the White House to the EPA to withdraw new ozone rules, was a welcome surprise.
This isn't the moment to distract businesses with developing, or fighting, ozone rules. The White House issued a very direct statement, with an administrative rationale:
"On Friday, President Obama asked Administrator Jackson to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time, as work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013."
Jackson assented to her boss's request: " We will revisit the ozone standard, in compliance with the Clean Air Act."
The White House also rounded up and reported support from a number of local government officials, such as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. He and his peers are glad that a choice for the moment was "jobs first."
“The President made the right decision to stop this move by the EPA," said Snyder. Noting the present ozone standard was last reviewed a mere three years ago, Snyder said, "It is important to balance environmental goals with the need for economic development, particularly as Michigan and the rest of the nation work to recover from the recession.”
The move revives attention to the ongoing debate about Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule for Industrial Boilers (Boiler MACT). Like the ozone rule withdrawn last week, the MACT boiler rule was not incorporating real-world information from businesses. And it threatened jobs.
While it sounds abstruse, it's really about burning woodwaste in wood products manufacturing. In businesses that use kilns, like cement and lumber, industrial boiler operation is a burning issue.
American Wood Council President Robert Glowinski was among those this spring "filing for reconsideration of the Boiler MACT rules so that complex, and in some cases unachievable, provisions in the rules may be corrected and improved upon." Glowinski noted, “Issues remain that will have dramatic economic impact on businesses, and most-importantly jobs. Before businesses can make any significant investments in additional boiler controls, they must have more certainty on the new standards."
In a bewildering thicket of rules about boiler emissions, the greater good of bio-fueled co-generated power - and generating jobs - gets lost.
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