Boiler MACT Rule Rescinded by Retreating EPA

You can tell the election season is coming because US EPA has benched another of its rules to the consternation of environmental advocates.  This time it is the boiler rule affecting emissions from industrial site power plants.

The President has been trying to mitigate the criticism from business that his EPA was imposing new regulations to appease environmental groups at the expense of job creation and economic recovery.  The government, of course, denied those allegations but the combination of business and Congressional objections has been taking their toll on the regulatory agenda. So far, EPA has delayed new rules on coal plant ash disposal and mountain top mining, on toxic emissions from cement plants and signaled it would speed up review of permits for deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

The EPA’s Boiler MACT on-site power plant rule was previously delayed for years until litigation forced EPA’s hand. The Boiler MACT rule was promulgated in April 2010 by US EPA, defending its action on the basis that as many as 4,800 premature deaths from respiratory ailments could be prevented by 2013 if mercury, dioxins and lead were reduced from the 13,600 industrial power plants covered by the rule.  Business complained the rule would drive them off shore or out of business.  EPA cried “uncle” asking the court to give it more time to study the impact of the proposed rule. Despite the court telling EPA to act, EPA watered down the boiler rule it issued and now has rescinded it.

Critics say the Administration is running for cover hoping the complaints will go away until after the election then it will re-impose the rules. Almost laughably, EPA said it rescinded the Boiler MACT rule in response to the President’s January executive order to reduce burdensome regulation.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, with jurisdiction over EPA said he welcomed the rescission because “our environmental goals need to be in step with our economic realities.”

Stay tuned, there are more EPA rules where these came from.