Boiler Rules: A Slow Simmer
The prolonged MACT process has hardly been a simple recipe.
In addition to the presentations at the recently-concluded Annual Meeting of ABMA’s Commercial Systems Group and my comments during the Annual Meeting General Session last Monday, USEPA has responded further to the recent court ruling that vacated the agency’s stay on its Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules.
“After an initial review of the court’s decision, EPA is not aware of any sources that might be adversely affected,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the USEPA Office of Air and Radiation, in a statement. While the EPA will continue to work with permitting authorities and industry members on the boiler MACT rule, initially issued in March 2011 and later halted through a stay provision issued by the USEPA in May 2011, McCarthy also said the agency will soon issue a no action assurance letter to those affected by the MACT rules.
USEPA will not enforce any of the administrative notification requirements in the old rules for a period of time, while it works to finalize the rules by the spring of this year, according to McCarthy. The most recent revisions were published in the Federal Register on December 23rd.
McCarthy said the USEPA still looks forward to finalizing the rules later this year, noting that the agency intends to keep the health benefits of the original rules, while reducing the cost of compliance to industry. “The standards would focus on the less than one percent of boilers that emit the majority of pollution from this sector,” McCarthy said. ABMA strongly supports the USEPA in its efforts to bring the current Reconsideration rulemaking process to an end by this spring or early summer.
Revisions, stays, and no-action letters, oh my. As Rawson goes on to surmise, the boiler industry and many affected users (along with, I presume, the environment itself) would really appreciate getting this wrapped up. However, he also cites an organized opposition comprising certain users and the congresspeople of their acquaintance, who are pushing yet other proposals to dilute or delay any changes. With a little luck, maybe we’ll be able to share this episode’s exciting conclusion in the May Today’s Boiler.
Thanks to the scheduling gods’ sense of humor, I’m writing this at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago during the winter ASHRAE meeting. One of the noteworthy changes here is the new logo, which was unveiled at their annual press breakfast.
Incoming Society president Tom Watson explained that while the new logo simplifies and refreshes the look, it also keeps the familiar hexagonal motif. The color also transitions for just a bit on one side from the traditional blue to green — located on the “leading edge,” you might say … very clever, ASHRAE, I see what you did there.
On a side note, they’ll also start referring to themselves simply as ASHRAE, foregoing the full name in general business. Everyone has seen this branding trend in other areas of life. I think it’s probably fine here given its specialized audience (ES has simpy written “ASHRAE” for some time), but I think organizations in general are overdoing this impulse to shorten their names. Sooner or later, we’re going to raise a generation of children who have no idea what KFC stands for. ES