EPA Finalizes Clean Air Regs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators that it says will achieve extensive public health protections by slashing toxic air pollution, including mercury and particle pollution, while at the same time addressing feedback provided by industry and labor groups, increasing the rule’s flexibility and dramatically reducing costs. As a result, 99% of the approximately 1.5 million boilers in the U.S. are not covered or can meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups.
“As a result of information gathered through this review, including significant dialogue and meetings with public health groups, industry and the public, the final rule dramatically cuts the cost of implementation by individual boilers that EPA proposed in 2010,” according to EPA. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce these pollutants, the public will see $13 to $29 in health benefits, including fewer instances of asthma, heart attacks, as well as premature deaths.
The new rules set numerical emission limits for less than 1% of boilers—those that emit the majority of pollution from this sector. For these high emitting boilers and incinerators, typically operating at refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities, EPA is establishing more targeted emissions limits that protect public health and provide industry with practical, cost-effective options to meet the standards.
EPA has also finalized revisions to the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule to provide clarity on what types of secondary materials are considered non-waste fuels and provide greater flexibility in rule implementation. This final rule classifies a number of secondary materials as categorical non-wastes when used as a fuel and allows for operators to request that EPA identify specific materials through rulemaking as a categorical non-waste fuel.
Of most interest to composite manufacturers is the continued designation of resinated wood as a non-waste when used as a fuel, and its revised definition. EPA’s revised definition now includes additional materials in order to be more representative of the universe of resinated wood residuals that are currently used as fuels throughout the wood product manufacturing process, a change lobbied for by CPA. The definition, which now includes physical off spec materials, reads: “Resinated wood means wood products (containing binders and adhesives) produced by primary and secondary wood products manufacturing. Resinated wood includes residues from the manufacture and use of resinated wood, including materials such as board trim, sander dust, panel trim, and off-specification resinated wood products that do not meet a manufacturing quality or standard.”