EPA's Apparent Effort to Appease Environmentalists over the Boiler MACT Rule Not Very Appeasing

by Catherine O'Neill | June 24, 2011

The EPA has developed an inexplicable penchant for making decisions that please no one. So, it should come as no surprise that its announcement today regarding the ongoing, will-they-won’t-they Boiler MACT saga falls into this category too. The agency traded in the indefinite delay it gave itself last month to “reconsider” the final Boiler MACT standards it issued in February for a firm deadline:  The EPA now promises to complete the reconsidered final standard by the end of April of 2012.

Environmentalists responded to the EPA’s earlier announcement that it would indefinitely delay the reconsidered final standard with equal parts anger and shock. (See here and here) To allow this indefinite delay, the agency exploited a loophole in the Administrative Procedure Act, crafting a one-sided “justice” analysis that considered only industry’s interests while completely ignoring those of the public and the environment.

It’s good that EPA has given itself an actual deadline. But let’s be clear on the cost of the ten-month delay in finalizing the regulation. Because EPA failed to finish the regulation on the original deadline, mandated by statute, Americans will suffer:

  • Up to 5,500 premature deaths;

  • Up to 3,300 non-fatal heart attacks; and

  • Up to 1,300 cases of acute bronchitis

Truly, the price is too high. But it’s apparently not high enough for industry and its supporters in Congress. A bill to delay and dilute the Boiler MACT rule is ...

EPA's New Boiler Rule Will Deliver Reduced -- But Still Huge -- Health Benefits

by Catherine O'Neill | February 24, 2011
This post was written by CPR Member Scholar Catherine O'Neill and Communications Specialist Ben Somberg. The announcement from EPA Wednesday creating final standards for pollution from industrial boilers is being described by the press as “scale[d] back,” and “half the cost of an earlier proposal.” Those things are true, but the new regulation is no small matter. It will have a significant and positive effect on the health of people across the country and beyond. Says the Sierra Club: "Though the ...

Environmental Regulation, Jobs, and Human Health: Industry Estimates on Boiler Rule Flunk Economics 101

by Catherine O'Neill | November 03, 2010
Economics professors at two major universities just issued their reviews of industry-funded assessments of the costs of EPA’s proposed boiler rule (via NRDC). The professors’ conclusions: “the methodology is fundamentally flawed;” “the resulting estimates of job losses are completely invalid;” “the results reported are useless;” “if I were grading this, I would give it an F.” These strongly-worded indictments should make us sit up and take note.  Professors Charles Kolstad and Jason Shogren were asked to review industry-funded estimates of the costs ...

Boiler MACT Rule Would Have Enormous Health Benefits from Air Pollutant Reductions -- And That's Not Even Accounting for the Reduced Mercury Emissions

by Catherine O'Neill | October 12, 2010
EPA’s proposal to curb emissions from the second largest source of mercury in the United States – industrial boilers and process heaters – has come under fire in recent weeks.  Those industries that would be subject to the “boiler rule” have objected to its costs, and some senators have embraced their claims (see also Lisa Jackson's response). The industry story, however, leaves out important facts. The industry story does not mention that, on balance, the estimated costs of the rule are ...

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