Court Rejects EPA Delay of Incinerator Rule

A federal court has rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) delay on a tougher air emissions rule for boilers and commercial solid waste incinerators, but it does not directly affect municipal solid waste (MSW) combustors.

John Skinner, executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), says in an interview the standards affecting MSW combusters are unaffected by this rule. "We would be interested that these other types of boilers and incinerators meet the same types of standards municipal waste combusters meet for mercury and air toxics."

Judge Paul Friedman of the District of Columbia U.S. District Court called the EPA’s delay “arbitrary and capricious” in his ruling.

The EPA had originally made a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard in March under court order for boiler and incinerator emissions. It then delayed implementation of the rule and in December issued a revised proposed standard. The Sierra Club was suing to have the standard implemented.

With its December proposal the EPA said the standards still will reduce emissions of harmful pollutants including mercury, lead, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution.

Donna Harman, president and CEO of the Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association, said in a statement:  “Judge Friedman’s decision to invalidate EPA’s stay of the Boiler MACT and incinerator rules jeopardizes jobs at a time when the economy can least afford it.  This ruling reinforces the urgent need for prompt congressional passage of the EPA Regulatory Relief Act.  The legislation will provide EPA with the time it needs to fully analyze and prepare a new rule.  It will also provide the critically-needed legal and business certainty to avoid putting tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs at risk.”


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