By Svend Brandt-Erichsen, Partner, Marten Law PLLC
In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Svend Brandt-Erichsen of Marten Law PLLC discusses EPA's new standards for hazardous air emissions from boilers and process heaters, commonly referred to as "Boiler MACT." Many industrial facilities that use oil, biomass, or coal to fuel their boilers will now face significant costs for new controls on existing boilers and process heaters to meet the rule's new emission limits.
EPA's standards for hazardous air emissions from boilers and process heaters, commonly referred to as "Boiler MACT," were formally published on January 31, 2013. Boilers and heaters that were constructed after June 4, 2010 must meet the new requirements immediately; older units must come into compliance over the next three years, unless continued litigation derails this rule once again. Boilers and process heaters are common components of a wide variety of industrial facilities-refineries, pulp and lumber mills, food processors, chemical manufacturers, smelters, glass makers, and other factories-as well as large institutional facilities like universities and hospitals. EPA estimates that under its new rules about 200,000 boilers and heaters at about 90,000 facilities will be subject to new work practice standards. About 14,500 existing boilers and heaters located at about 1,700 existing facilities also will be subject to new emission limits.
Boiler MACT's most significant impacts fall on solid and liquid-fueled boilers and process heaters-those powered by coal, biomass, and oil. They are subject to new emission limits for filterable particulate matter (metals), carbon monoxide, mercury, and hydrogen chloride (acid gases). In addition, most boilers and process heaters that run on any type of fuel, including natural gas, will be required to undergo regular tune-ups. Some facilities also will be required to conduct a one-time energy assessment designed to identify cost-effective ways to improve the efficiency of the units.
Svend Brandt-Erichsen, a partner at Marten Law PLLC, practices in Alaska and Washington, and has been an environmental lawyer for nearly 20 years. He currently is advising clients on carbon management and other environmental issues associated with energy project development, including coal gasification plants. Svend has spent his career assisting petroleum, coal-based and alternative energy firms with the environmental issues associated with power development and distribution and with oil and gas production, transportation, and refining. He has represented clients in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and California.
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