WASHINGTON, Sept. 21- The House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed the EPA Regulatory Relief Act today with a 36-14 vote.

The bill, which provides “additional time for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue achievable standards for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers, process heaters, and incinerators, and for other purposes,” is passed with one amendment from Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), an original introducer of bill H.R. 2250. The amendment passed today will limit EPA finalization of the Maximum Achievable Controllable Technology Rules (MACT) to 15 months after the bill’s enactment. 

“This bill would be a job creating benefit,” said Griffith. “The EPA’s Boiler MACT rules impact businesses, institutions, and facilities across the ninth district and nationwide. Exceptionally high compliance costs would jeopardize tens of thousands of jobs.”

The bill gives federal regulators additional time and guidelines to develop rules regulating emissions from industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and incinerators. Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee say the Act will protect jobs and guard against harmful regulation. A study by the U.S. Commerce Department estimated that the stricter requirements in the MACT rules would cost up to 60,000 jobs, although varying numbers are given by other sources.  

In addition to providing the EPA with 15 months to finalize the MACT rules, the bill extends the compliance deadline from three to five years, directs EPA to adopt definitions allowing sources to use a wide range of alternative fuels and directs EPA to impose the least burdensome regulatory alternatives.

In March 2011, EPA published four interrelated rules for more than 200,000 boilers, process heaters and incinerators. The bill passed today puts a stay on those regulations, which include standards for major source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters; area source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers; commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators; and sewage sludge incinerators. 

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) opposed the bill’s passage, saying it overrides the Clean Air Act and would prevent the EPA from guarding against toxic air pollutants. 

“The boiler bill nullifies the existing rules and prohibits EPA from issuing new rules before March 2013 or later, assuming enactment this year. The bill also allows an indefinite delay after that by eliminating the Clean Air Act deadlines for rulemaking,” Waxman said. “At a minimum, these changes guarantee substantial additional uncertainty and litigation, which benefits only the lawyers.”

To view the entire bill, go here

For more on the EPA MACT rules, go here.


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