U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), along with Senators David Vitter (R- Louisiana), Mark Begich (D- Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D- Arkansas) were encouraged today by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision requesting a federal court to delay implementation of the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Rule, which was under a court order to be published by January 14. Last week, the Senators expressed significant concern over the economic effects of the proposed regulation and urged Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to release an independent Department analysis that reportedly determined that the rule would result in significant job losses, contrary to the Environmental Protection Agency's own assessment.
"With a pending regulation that has been identified will have significant economic implications throughout the nation, it is critical that the Boiler MACT rule is cost-effective," Senator Snowe said. "The negative impact of this proposed rule would have exacerbated the difficult economic conditions in rural Maine and I appreciate EPA's efforts to reassess their misguided proposal. The uncertainty in the boiler industry already generated by the proposed MACT rule is evident in Maine, where Lee Academy last week turned down a federal energy grant to install a wood-pellet boiler because of compliance questions it raised. I intend to closely monitor the EPA's reevaluation of this rule to ensure the Administration moves forward with common-sense, sustainable regulations that will grow our economy and reduce our dependence on fossil energy."
"EPA has taken an important step in recognizing that both their proposal and economic analysis were questionable at best. However, this does not change the fact that Secretary Locke should release the Commerce Department's analysis," said Senator Vitter.
"I'm glad the EPA heard our warning and is committing to getting this right. Like many Alaskans, I support efforts to improve energy efficiency, but we can't create drastic new rules without firm data to back them up," Senator Mark Begich said. "A final rule relying on fuller and more accurate information should move us closer to a cost-effective solution for boiler standards which reduces our dependence on foreign energy sources without excluding American manufacturers."
"Protecting our environment is critical, but we must do it in a way that doesn't hurt local economies," Senator Pryor said. "I am pleased that the EPA has decided to delay the implementation of this regulation while they collect additional information. I am hopeful that we can work together to craft a policy that helps keep our air clean without taking away American jobs."