House lawmakers float bill to delay, alter EPA boiler rule

Republicans and some Democrats have blasted EPA’s boiler rules, arguing they are unrealistic and impose major economic burdens on industry.

The legislation specifies that EPA’s existing boiler regulations “are of no force or effect.” It also extends the existing three-year compliance period for the regulations to five years.

EPA reissued the rules, which would require that boilers and incinerators install “maximum achievable control technology,” in February under a court-ordered deadline. The reissued rules are less stringent than draft regulations the agency issued last year.

The agency said last month that industry will not need to comply with the regulations while it accepts more comments on the final rule. EPA opened up a reconsideration process in which stakeholders can offer more comments on the standards because the final regulations differed so much from draft rules issued last year.

EPA, for its part, says the rules are cost-effective, arguing the public will see $10 to $24 in health benefits for every $1 spent on the rules. The agency also says the regulations will offer huge health benefits, preventing 2,600 to 6,600 premature deaths per year beginning in 2014.