Saturday, October 15, 2011

House votes to delay EPA's MACT boiler rules

The U.S. House of Representatives voted almost two-to-one Thursday night to postpone the implementation of EPA's proposed Boiler maximum achievable control technology (Boiler MACT) rules that would regulate emissions from commercial, institutional and industrial boiler systems.

The Hill reports
The EPA Regulatory Relief Act, sometimes referred to as “boiler MACT" would slow the implementation of rules designed to restrict the types and quantities of poisons water boilers use to create steam for heating buildings are allowed to emit.  
Prior to the resounding 275-142 vote, lawmakers engaged in hearty debate with some Democrats like Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) arguing that repealing the rules would literally result in the death of thousands of Americans.

"If the regulation to remove mercury, lead and cancer-causing toxins from incinerators and industrial boilers, which is already 11 years overdue, is delayed for even one year, there will be 6,600 people who will die prematurely, and people will miss 320,000 days of work and school," said Markey.
"Pass this bill and you sentence hundreds of thousands to asthma attacks and a lifetime of health complications," Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) echoed.

Meanwhile Republicans, who prevailed in the vote, argued that the complicated set of rules in “Boiler MACT” were onerous and would cost the economy billions of dollars in added costs at a time it can least afford it.

Supporters of H.R. 2250, saw its 275 to 142 passage as a victory for job creators and workers, Power Engineering reports.

"This bill is a critical step toward getting the Boiler MACT rules right the first time, saving the biomass industry millions of dollars in unnecessary costs and sparing thousands of American jobs," said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the Biomass Power Association.

But Randy Rawson, president and CEO of the American Boiler Manufacturers Association, said the House  vote was "opting for continued, arbitrarily-chosen delay and imprecise legislative definitions and directions."

"The House has signaled its preference for on-going, long-term marketplace uncertainty and turmoil rather than trying to resolve exigent issues,” Rawson said.

The bill  now moves to the Senate.

If you'd like to dig into the details of the EPA proposals, check out this comprehensive video produced by Trinity Consultants: EPA Issues Final Boiler Rules

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