WASHINGTON -- The Boiler MACT and Commercial and Industrial Incineration (CISWI) rules are so flawed they should go back to the drawing board, according to a petition filed by the American Forest & Paper Association and nine other organizations.

The petition was submitted last week to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It seeks administrative reconsideration and amendment of the Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) and the CISWI rules. If accepted by EPA, the process will begin to correct the most egregious flaws with the rules, including those governing the incineration of woody biomass.

“EPA has acknowledged that reconsideration is necessary for many of these rules’ provisions due to the short time frame for finalization mandated by the court. We think it’s critical to address these issues before businesses go through the costly and burdensome process of compliance.” said Donna Harman, president and CEO of the AF&PA. “Significant parts of these rules are simply unachievable and the costs of trying to comply with them will be unaffordable for many businesses, putting thousands of American jobs at risk unnecessarily.”

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is authorized to reconsider a rule if it was impracticable to raise an objection during the public comment period. In its Federal Register notice on March 21, 2011, the EPA admitted that at least a dozen issues in the rules met that standard and warranted reconsideration. In total, AF&PA and other affected industries identified 18 separate issues they are requesting EPA reconsider.

Prominent among the concerns is the achievability of several of the standards for existing and new boilers – especially those that use biomass. Other concerns include provisions that sweep hundreds of combustion units into the CISWI rule. A slight but dramatic definition change as to what constitutes a contained gas material will cause these units to be subjected to the stringent CISWI standards and could cause certain air pollution control equipment to be regulated as well.

AF&PA recently requested that EPA stay the Boiler MACT and CISWI rules to provide more time for further evaluation of the provisions the agency itself has publicly stated need additional consideration. This reconsideration petition provides the detailed rationale for why EPA needs to stop the implementation process knowing the requirements will change as a result of further rulemaking.

We worked with EPA to make important improvements to the Boiler MACT and CISWI rules during the public comment process and plan to continue those efforts through the reconsideration process,” concluded Harman. “While the final rules may have been less onerous than originally drafted, they still are unachievable and unaffordable in many key areas as laid out the reconsideration petition.”

Posted by Rich Christianson

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