Federal District Court Extends Deadline For EPA to Issue Boiler Rules to Feb. 21

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A federal district court on Jan. 20 denied a request by the Environmental Protection Agency for a 15-month delay to issue air pollution rules for industrial boilers and incinerators, instead ordering the agency to promulgate new emissions standards by Feb. 21 (Sierra Club v. Jackson, D.D.C., No. 01-1537, 1/20/10).

The ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia amended in part a March 31, 2006, order.

EPA had requested an extension to April 13, 2012, to allow the agency additional time to repropose rules for major-source boilers, certain smaller boilers, and commercial and institutional solid waste incineration units.

The Sierra Club on Dec. 24, 2010, filed a memo opposing EPA's request to extend the deadline until 2012, arguing that the delay would cause an estimated 2,000 to 5,100 premature deaths (42 ER 7, 1/7/11).

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman issued the Jan. 20 ruling.

EPA said in a Jan. 20 statement, “EPA is disappointed that the extension was not longer. However, the agency will work diligently to issue these standards by this new deadline.”

“The standards will be significantly different than what EPA proposed in April 2010. The agency believes these changes still deserve further public review and comment and expects to solicit further comment through a reconsideration of the rules,” EPA said.

“Through the reconsideration process, EPA intends to ensure that the rules will be practical to implement and will protect all Americans from dangerous pollutants such as mercury and soot, which can damage children's developing brains, aggravate asthma, and cause heart attacks,” EPA said.

“The agency is considering all other options for addressing these issues before the rules would become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register,” EPA said.

In a Jan. 20 statement, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said, “Industry has done everything it can to delay these clean up measures. These polluters must be held accountable.”

By Robert C. Cook