Today, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl commended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their recent filing in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, requesting more time to further evaluate the proposed regulation of industrial boilers. In September, Senator Kohl joined a bipartisan group of Senators on a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson conveying concern over the proposed rules and expressed concern over the ability of companies to comply with the new regulations in a way that won't jeopardize these businesses.
Under the current court-ordered proposal, the EPA had to finalize rules for boilers by January 2011. These rules set out standards requiring some boilers to install Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) to control for a number of air pollutants. The EPA recently stated it did not have all the data it needed for this new regulation and is therefore requesting more time from the court to ensure the proposal was feasible. The EPA has requested a April 2012 deadline.
"I'm pleased that the EPA has asked for more time to make sure that its proposed rules can protect our air quality and do so without unreasonable costs to Wisconsin's paper companies, utilities, and others that use industrial boilers," Kohl said. "EPA has admitted that their efforts to date were made without all the information they needed. Given the potential impacts that these regulations will have on the paper industry and to the development of biomass energy, the EPA needs to carefully consider the full range of information before making final decisions. I will continue to work with the EPA to make sure they strike the right balance with their regulations."
The paper industry is vital to Wisconsin; the state has 241 pulp and paper facilities which employ approximately 35,000 people. In September, a study commissioned by the American Forest & Paper Association indicated that the draft EPA Boiler MACT rules could result in 7,500 pulp and paper jobs lost. Additionally, the Wisconsin paper Council indicated that Wisconsin paper mills would have to spend $470 million to comply with the new regulations.