WASHINGTON (May 3, 2010)—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued proposals on industrial boilers and solid waste incinerators that it said will cut U.S. mercury emissions by more than half and also reduce other pollutants significantly.
Published in the April 29 Federal Register, the proposed rules among other things would define some “non-hazardous secondary materials” as solid waste, which would require units that burned those materials to be defined under the Clean Air Act as solid waste incineration units. The Clean Air Act requires much stricter emissions controls on solid waste incineration units than it does on industrial boilers.
One of the materials that potentially could be redefined as solid waste is tire-derived fuel. Currently, TDF-burning units are treated as industrial boilers under the Clean Air Act. This definition, however, has been under threat since 2007, when the District of Columbia federal appeals court ruled that treating alternative-fuel-burning units as industrial boilers violated the plain intent of the Clean Air Act.
If TDF is defined as solid waste, the equipment and monitoring necessary to meet the stricter emissions regulations could price the material out of the fuel market, and also cause serious harm to the entire structure of the rubber recycling industry, industry experts said at the time.
Legal counsel at the Rubber Manufacturers Association is reviewing the proposals, according to the RMA. The agency will accept comments on the proposal until mid-June, and also plans a public meeting on the rule in May.