WASHINGTON - In a motion filed in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking an extension of the current court-ordered schedule for issuing rules that would reduce emissions from large and small boilers as well as solid waste incinerators. EPA said the additional time is needed for the agency to re-propose the rules based on a full assessment of comments received since the rules were originally proposed. The rules would cut emissions of pollutants, including mercury and soot, which can cause a range of harmful health effects.

In order to meet a court order requiring the EPA to issue final rules in January 2011, the agency proposed standards in April 2010. While the agency requested and received some information from industry before the proposal, EPA said the comments received following the proposal shed new light on a number of key areas, including the scope and coverage of the rules and the way to categorize the various boiler types. Industry groups and others offered this information during the public comment period after EPA proposed the rule. After reviewing the data and the more than 4,800 public comments, the agency believes it is appropriate to issue a revised proposal that reflects the new data and allows for additional public comment.

EPA has estimated that there are more than 200,000 boilers operating in industrial facilities, commercial buildings, hotels, and universities located in highly populated areas and communities across the country. EPA has estimated that for every $5 spent on reducing pollutants, the public will see $12 in health and other benefits.

EPA is under a current court order to issue final rules on Jan. 16, 2011 and is seeking in its motion to the court to extend the schedule to finalize the rules by April 2012.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion.

Publication date:12/13/2010