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June 27 - Barrow Introduces Legislation Re: EPA Boiler Rules

Category: Local Govts & Politics

By Lou Phelps, SBJ Staff

June 27, 2011 - Responding to calls from businesses across a range of industries – “job creators” – according to Congressman John Barrow (GA-12), he has joined a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce to introduce The EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (H.R. 2250). 

The proposal directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop new, achievable standards affecting non-utility boilers and incinerators, and grants additional time for compliance with new EPA rules that are set to go into effect.

According to Barrow, economic analyses have projected that compliance with the rules as currently proposed could cost in excess of $14 billion, which could put more than 200,000 jobs at risk. “We all agree that we need to take responsible actions to protect public health and clean our environment,” said Barrow.  “But we need to do so in a smart, common sense way that does not jeopardize our efforts to create jobs and get the economy back on track. This legislation strikes the right balance by reducing the amount of pollution being spewed into the air, while at the same time removing regulatory burdens that threaten more than 200,000 jobs in our country.  It’s a win-win, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see this important piece of legislation become law.”

The members introducing the EPA Regulatory Relief Act issued the following statement: “Our goal is simple. With the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, we are giving EPA the time it needs – the time it has requested – to address difficult technical issues and develop rules that are workable in the real world. Likewise, businesses, institutions, and facilities need adequate time to finance the new monitoring and control equipment that will be required to meet the new standards, to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, and to design, procure, install, test, train personnel, and start up equipment. Without regulatory relief, EPA’s current rules endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide by forcing plant shutdowns and relocation of American manufacturing and jobs overseas. We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the Obama administration, to see this type of common-sense relief become law.”

The legislation was offered jointly by Reps. Barrow, Morgan Griffith (R-VA), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Pete Olson (R-TX), Mike Ross (D-AR), and Steve Scalise (R-LA).

Background on H.R. 2250

On March 21, 2011, EPA published four interrelated, highly complex, and data-intensive rules setting new standards for more than 200,000 boilers, process heaters, and incinerators. The rules apply across the entire U.S. economy and affect manufacturing and industrial facilities, commercial buildings and facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals and medical centers, hotels and apartment buildings, and city buildings and municipal facilities.   EPA published the proposed rules in June of 2010. In December 2010, after receiving more than 4,800 comments, EPA asked a federal court for an additional 15 months to re-propose the rules and solicit more public comment. However, the court denied the request and instructed EPA to issue the rules within 30 days. While EPA complied with the court’s order, the same day EPA published the final rules it stated it would reconsider certain aspects of the rules because the public had not had sufficient time to comment.

The EPA has also issued a temporary administrative stay of the effective date of two of the rules, and reported that the agency estimates compliance with its boiler and incinerator rules will impose $5.8 billion in up-front capital costs, and the four rules collectively will impose new costs of more than $2.2 billion annually.

Affected industries project significantly higher costs, including capital costs in excess of $14 billion; the new rules are estimated by industry to potentially put tens of thousands of jobs at risk in sectors throughout the U.S. economy.   

H.R. 2250 will provide EPA with at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new rules for boilers, process heaters, and incinerators; extend compliance deadlines from 3 to at least 5 years to allow facilities adequate time to comply with the standards and install necessary equipment;          direct EPA, when developing the new rules, to adopt definitions that allow sources to use a wide range of alternative fuels; and direct EPA to ensure that the new rules are achievable by real-world boilers, process heaters, and incinerators and impose the least burdensome regulatory alternatives consistent with the President’s Executive Order 13563. 

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