On behalf of the nearly 900,000 workers in the U.S. forest products industry, Donna Harman, the President and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) commended today the action taken by U.S. Representative Alan Nunnelee to protect manufacturing jobs by co-sponsoring legislation that would stay and improve EPA's costly and burdensome Boiler MACT rule and three related rules until they can be improved to be more achievable and affordable.
"Congressman Nunnelee has shown decisive leadership to protect good manufacturing jobs from regulations that even the EPA itself has admitted needs to be changed," said Donna Harman, President and CEO of AF&PA. "By sponsoring legislation to stay and improve these costly rules, Rep. Nunnelee is helping to prevent severe hardship and tens of thousands of job losses in the forest product sector alone."
The Boiler MACT regulation issued by the EPA in February 2011 sets emission limits for boilers used in a vast array of industrial, commercial and institutional facilities, including manufacturers (forest products, chemicals, agricultural products, furniture, food processors, refineries, foundries, etc.), as well as municipal power plants, biomass energy plants, universities, hospitals, federal facilities, small businesses and others. The final Boiler MACT rule alone has an estimated capital cost for the manufacturing sector of over $14 billion, plus billions more in operating costs. For the forest products industry alone, the Boiler MACT rules have been estimated to cost $5-$7 billion in capital, in the same ballpark as the unaffordable rules proposed by EPA last year. These huge costs would put tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
EPA has announced a stay of the Boiler MACT regulations while changes are considered, but without Congressional action, EPA's decision could be overturned by a court, threatening affected companies with high compliance costs and jobs losses. Rep. Nunnelee has co-sponsored H.R. 2250 which would provide much-needed certainty and direction for both a stay of the regulations and a solid foundation for EPA to make the needed changes.
"With the time, direction and certainty provided by Rep. Nunnelee's bill, this legislation enables EPA to rewrite the Boiler MACT rules in a way that will protect the environment and also promote jobs and economic growth," concluded Harman. "On behalf of the workers of the forest products industry, we commend Rep. Nunnelee for taking action to ensure the sustainability of the environment as well as businesses and the workers and communities they support, and we urge the Congress to quickly pass this important legislation."