House Passes Legislation to Delay Boiler Rules


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: Clean Air Act (as Amended)

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2250, “The EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011” by a 275-142 vote.  Forty-one Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the measure; no Republicans voted against it.

The legislation stays the Boiler MACT rule, the Boiler area sources rule, an incinerator rule, and a nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM) rule.  (EPA had previously stayed the Boiler MACT and incinerator rules in May, but had not stayed the Boiler area sources and NHSM rules.) The bill also provides EPA with 15 months to re-propose the rules, and two additional years  for affected facilities to comply with the rules (extending the compliance period from three to five years).  Finally, the legislation places an emphasis on flexible work practices and “achievable standards.”  

Critics of the legislation argue that the bill would be detrimental to public health, and that it was intended to stall the rules indefinitely.  They also contend that it would negatively tamper with the Clean Air Act.  Supporters argue that the bill is necessary to improve the rules and to reduce regulatory burdens and economic costs on affected industry stakeholders. 

The debate on this issue now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to face an uphill fight.  S. 1392, sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), is the Senate version of the legislation.  While the Senate bill has some bipartisan support, it is not a top priority for the Senate Democratic leadership and it is unclear if the measure will move in that chamber.

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