Payroll deal spares EPA boiler rules

“Instead of finding common-sense solutions, the Republicans are talking about things that have nothing to do with middle-income taxes — like the Keystone pipeline, rolling back regulations to keep our air safe and our water clean and pure,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said ealier this month.

EPA unveiled regulations last year that require industrial boiler and incinerator operators to install technology to reduce harmful air pollutants like mercury and soot.

The agency said the “maximum achievable control technology” standards will offer major public health benefits, preventing 8,100 premature deaths and 5,100 heart attacks a year starting in 2015.

But Republicans, some centrist Democrats and industry groups have launched an aggressive campaign against the regulations, arguing they will cost jobs and burden the economy.

The final deal also does not include provisions to extend wind power production tax credits that expire at year’s end.

The omission is a defeat for renewable energy advocates who lobbied for the provision and say allowing the credit to lapse would deal a major blow to continued expansion of wind energy.

New wind installations have dropped sharply when the credit has lapsed in the past.

Also not in the deal: provisions to mandate approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. Republicans are instead trying to push Keystone through the sweeping transportation bills that both chambers are considering.

Ben Geman contributed.

This post was updated at 9:43 a.m.