WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2011)—By a 275-142 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, a bill to postpone by 15 months the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's rule on emissions from industrial boilers.
A 15-month delay, the bill's advocates claim, will give the EPA time to reconsider the standard's provisions while allowing industry more time to comply with the new rules. The delay would protect hundreds of thousands of jobs endangered by the expense and burden of the boiler rule, said the Automotive Service Association, which supports the bill.
The boiler rule will cover more than 200,000 boilers operating in industrial facilities, commercial buildings, hotels and universities across the U.S., the EPA estimates. The agency projects $12 in health and other benefits for every $5 spent in compliance with the rule.
However, economic analyses from other sources estimate a compliance cost of more than $14 billion, which would place more than 200,000 U.S. jobs at risk, the ASA said.
A particular worry to tire dealerships and auto repair facilities is a provision that would ban the use of off-specification used oil as fuel.
If the rule is implemented as it is now, auto repairers will have to test any used oil they collect from the public to see if it meets specifications, the ASA said.
“If that happens, automotive maintenance facilities across the country could simply stop accepting DIY used oil,” it said. “Much of the used oil that has been safely burned for heat in boilers and space heaters for many years could end up entering our water supply after being poured down a drain or on the soil.”
The bill is not expected to pass the Senate, although Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, will try to add the measure to any omnibus bill that must pass Congress by Nov. 18, the ASA said.
Scrap tire recyclers and users of tire-derived fuel breathed a sigh of relief when the EPA released its final version of the industrial boiler standard Feb. 25.
The proposed rule contained a provision that would have mandated processing scrap tires to remove all metal, which would have made TDF prohibitively expensive. The final rule, however, allows whole and shredded scrap tires emanating from established scrap tire management programs to be processed at the user's discretion.