WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced new limits for commercial boilers and incinerators, including those used by cabinet, furniture, panel products, components and other wood products manufacturers that burn woodwaste to heat their plants or dry kilns. Companies have three years to comply with the rules.
Following feedback from industry and environmental groups, lawmakers and the public, EPA says the final rule "dramatically cuts the cost of implementation" compared to the 2010 proposal, while affecting less than 1 percent of boilers in use in the United States. The remaining "99 percent of the approximately 1.5 million boilers in the U.S. are not covered or can meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups," the EPA said in a statement.
"While we need to study the rule in more depth, we will be looking for improvements from the December 2011 re-proposed rules on the use of biomass residuals as fuels, compliance time, and overall achievability. However, several billions of dollars in capital spending will be necessary to comply. This is a significant investment for an industry still recovering from the economic downturn, especially in light of the growing cumulative regulatory burden we face," the American Forest & Paper Assn. said in a statement Friday.
"Throughout this process, we maintained an open and healthy dialog with EPA and provided extensive data and comments in the hope that rules would be developed that are achievable and affordable for our industry," AFPA added.
The EPA's first introduction of a boiler and CISWI rule was in 2005, but that rule was vacated two years later by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The 2010 version of the rule was objected to by a number of industry groups who claimed the set limits were unachievable and at too high of a cost.
EPA said Friday it also finalized revisions to its Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule, including the classification of a "number of secondary materials as categorical non-wastes when used as a fuel and allows for operators to request that EPA identify specific materials through rulemaking as a categorical non-waste fuel."
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