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EPA Needs More Time to Reconsider Boiler MACT Rules

American workers and the industries that employ them face an ill-thought out and incomplete set of Boiler MACT regulations costing $14 billion to implement.  Given current economic realities, these regulations place at risk the jobs of your constituents and 200,000 working Americans across the country. With the economic climate as it is now, we cannot afford to lose too many more American manufacturing jobs.

The EPA asked for proper time to reconsider the Boiler MACT rules, and even attempted to stay the rules to have more time to clarify them. The forest products industry, for example, is compiling additional data at the EPA’s request, but may not have time to complete needed testing. The courts have made it clear that only Congress can give the EPA the time they have asked for and need to provide clarity. As a result, this legal uncertainty is a cloud over American businesses, which must be able to plan for the future in these uncertain economic times. Our communities deserve environmental rules that have been fully considered, and will hold up scientifically in the long term.

American businesses, workers, and citizens deserve regulations that have been given full diligence and consideration, not the haphazard rules which were thrown together last year. The size, scope and complexity of these rules require five years for compliance. The current rule allows for two to three years.

EPA has acknowledged that significant portions of the Boiler MACT rules require changes to be achievable under real-world operating conditions.  At the same time, the rules and EPA’s administrative stay are being challenged in court.  Legislation is the only way to guarantee EPA has the time they say they need to fix these rules, as well as to correct the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials rule to clearly define fuels that are traditionally used in boilers, such as carbon-neutral, renewable biomass residuals.

Rep. Morgan Griffith’s (R-VA) bill H.R. 2250, of which I am a cosponsor, initiated the Boiler MACT legislation along with its Senate counterpart, S.1392, and enjoys broad support in Congress. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 275-142, with no Republican opposition and 41 Democrats in support. The Senate Boiler MACT bill (S. 1392) currently has 41 bipartisan cosponsors. This is an issue that affects each of us, but none more so than the hundreds of thousands of workers in critical American industries.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Washington’s 5th Congressional District.

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