August 16, 2013 – Based on a recent court filing, industry trade groups are concerned that facilities could be put in a bind and face tight compliance dates based on the U.S. EPA’s ongoing efforts to work out the kinks of its final boiler maximum achievable control technology, or MACT, rule for major sources.
Due to the significant steps required for facilities to come into compliance by the January 31, 2016 deadline, the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, American Municipal Power Inc. and the American Chemistry Council argued that the “rapid resolution of all issues in this litigation [over the boiler MACT rule] is critical. Major sources, which commonly have multiple boilers and/or process heaters on site, need a substantial period of time once regulatory requirements are final to come into compliance,” the groups said in their filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The groups underscored the complex process that some facilities will need to undertake to come into compliance as several facilities undergoing retrofits will need to conduct compliance planning, engineering design, capital approval, equipment purchase and installation, and testing prior to the deadline. Municipal entities have very time sensitive timing concerns as complete local government approvals must be obtained prior to any equipment modifications.
The groups are also concerned of the EPA’s failure to specify precisely what issues it would reconsider since general terms were used to describe the provisions subject to possible change. Therefore, the groups asked the D.C. Circuit to let litigation proceed on those issues that the parties agreed are not related to the issues that the EPA identified for reconsideration.
The EPA said it is granting reconsideration of the definitions of startup and shutdown periods and the applicable work practices, the revised carbon monoxide limits and the use of continuous parameter monitoring systems, as well as making “clarifying changes” and corrections.
As with the area source boiler standard, the EPA said it is granting the reconsideration on the major source boiler standard to allow for an opportunity for public comment that petitioners contended was not adequately provided. The EPA defines major sources as facilities that have the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of any single air toxic or more than 25 tons per year of any combination of air toxics.
The case is United States Sugar Corp. v. U.S. EPA (11-1108 et al.).