On May 16, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency again changed course with the Boiler MACT rules, issuing an indefinite stay. As its official notice states:

The effective dates of the final rules published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2011 (76 FR 15608 and 76 FR 15704), are delayed until such time as judicial review is no longer pending or until the EPA completes its reconsideration of the rules, whichever is earlier.

The rules, officially known as the “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters,” which is often called the major source Boiler MACT rule, and “Standards of Performance for New Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units,” often called the CISWI rule, regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and certain other air pollutants from industrial, commercial and institutional boilers, process heaters and industrial solid waste incineration units. When the EPA issued the final rules on March 21, 2011, the EPA established an effective date of May 20, 2011, for each rule. On the same day, however, the EPA also published a notice that the agency was reconsidering certain portions of the rules.

In large part, the extra time was granted to allow more time for public comment. According to the May 16 announcement by the EPA, the stay was granted to give even more time for interested parties seeking reconsideration of both rules to offer public comment. Corporations and industry groups also have requested judicial review of both rules, and this litigation is pending.

Finally, according to the agency, it has received petitions from a number of interested parties that identify specific issues that the EPA is being asked to reconsider. To allow adequate time for public comment, the EPA has extended the commenting period until July 15, 2011.

To offer comment or learn about any further developments with these rules as they happen, visit http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion/actions.html.

Linda Becker, Associate Publisher and Editor, BeckerL@bnpmedia.com