EPA Denies Reconsideration of Brick Industry Air Standards

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By Patrick Ambrosio

May 17 — The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected industry requests to reconsider hazardous air pollutant standards covering the brick manufacturing industry.

The agency rejected a petition filed by the Brick Industry Association, which claimed that reconsideration was necessary for several reasons, including an alleged failure by the EPA to give proper notice that it planned to change its method for calculating the minimum stringency of standards for emissions of non-mercury metals and the allegedly incorrect use of tests conducted below capacity in setting revised maximum achievable control technology (MACT) floor standards.

The regulation, commonly known as Brick MACT, was estimated by the agency to cost industry $64.6 million in capital investments and $24.6 million in annual compliance costs. In addition to seeking administrative relief, the Brick Industry Association filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and said it intends to challenge the agency's non-mercury metals standards and other aspects of the rule (Sierra Club v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 15-1487, statements filed 1/28/16; 21 DEN A-2, 2/2/16).

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy informed the Brick Industry Association of the agency's decision in a May 12 letter. The scheduled May 18 publication of a notice announcing the agency's decision will open a 60-day period for legal challenges, which can only be filed in the D.C. Circuit.

Clay Issue to Be Revisited

The EPA also issued decisions on petitions for reconsideration of standards covering clay ceramics manufacturing facilities that were filed by Kohler Co. and the Tile Council of North America Inc.

While the EPA rejected most requests for reconsideration, the agency will revisit the rule's stack temperature monitoring requirements in response to a request from Kohler Co., a Wisconsin-based company that manufacturers tile along with furniture, plumbing products and other goods.

Kohler said in its petition that the EPA's final rule changed the parameters for measuring compliance with limits on emissions of dioxins and furans without offering parties a chance to comment on the change. The company is challenging the EPA's clay ceramic manufacturing standards in the D.C. Circuit and has highlighted the stack temperature limits as an issue it intended to litigate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Ambrosio in Washington at pambrosio@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

The EPA's response letters are available at http://src.bna.com/e4v.