Boiler MACT Rule

ALEC’s Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology Policy Guide

Regulatory Update and Specific Actions

March 23, 2012

A bipartisan group of eight Senators led by Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) have sent a letter to EPA expressing their concerns about the potential impact of the Boiler MACT rule on the domestic steel industry. The Senators say that changes to the rule are needed in order to “provide significant environmental benefits” by means of providing exemptions to boilers using oven gas for energy recovery.


February 23, 2012

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) submitted comments on the Boiler MACT rule to the EPA. The more than 200 pages of comments filed today by AF&PA and a coalition of industry organizations focus on details within the rules, including achievability concerns, inadequate compliance time, uncertainty of classifying biomass materials as fuels, excessive costs, and the prevalence of legal uncertainty.

Action: Submit comments on the last round of proposed changes to the Boiler MACT rule. Docket numbers for the changes are EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0058 (boiler major), EPA-HQ-OAR 2008-0790 (boiler area) and EPAHQ-OAR-2003-0119 (CISWI) (CISWI refers to the regulation on incinerators).  Comments can be filed at


February 1, 2012:

A coalition of 363 businesses and associations have written a letter to members of Congress asking them to insert a provision that would delay the EPA’s rules for emissions from industrial and commercial boilers as part of any payroll tax-cut extension legislation. The coalition reports that the rules do not provide enough time for capital planning and compliance, are a threat to energy-sector jobs, and do not list biomass materials as fuels. These problems are “yet another example of the continuing morass of uncertainty surrounding the rules” contained in the Boiler MACT Rule.


January 18, 2012:

After the decision by the court which reinstated the Boiler MACT rule, EPA has committed not to enforce those standards for the time being.  In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson noted that EPA has proposed a revised suite of boiler standards that it expects to finalize in April of 2012.  Until those standards are complete, Jackson stated that EPA would not enforce notification obligations that might otherwise apply to existing sources under the 2011 standards reinstated by the D.C court.  Jackson also stated that if any newly constructed boilers become subject to the 2011 standards, EPA will consider issuing a 9 day stay of the rule under the Clean Air Act.


January 9, 2012:

A federal court ruled that it was unlawful for the EPA to delay the May 20, 2012 effective date for the Boiler MACT rule, while the agency undertakes a process of reconsideration of the final rule.  The EPA was required by the court to finalize the rule in 2011, but almost immediately began a reconsideration process. The agency stayed the rule during the reconsideration process, but the federal court vacated the stay claiming the EPA had not properly justified the delay.  This impacts new boilers which will need to immediately comply with the 2011 rule when they come on-line.  Existing boilers have until March 2014 to comply with the rule. EPA intends to announce its reconsidered proposed rules in April 2012 and intends to issue final rules by the fall.


December 2011:

The EPA released changes to the proposed rules regulating emissions from boilers following a reconsideration period. To account for the differences in the wide variety of boilers, the changes recognize additional subcategories of fuel used in boilers and revise emission limits for particulate matter and carbon monoxide for each subcategory. EPA recognized that numeric dioxin emissions from boilers are below levels that can be accurately measured, and dropped them from the rule altogether, replacing them with “work-practice standards” such as routine maintenance requirements. The changes also remove required continuous monitoring of particle pollution from boilers using biomass fuel. The EPA claims that these changes will make the standards more achievable by reducing the cost of compliance by their estimate of 50%.  The EPA will hold a 60-day comment period on the rules and expects to finalize them by spring 2012.

Action: Submit comments on the proposed changes. Docket numbers for the changes are EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0058 (boiler major), EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0790 (boiler area) and EPAHQ-OAR-2003-0119 (CISWI) (CISWI refers to the regulation on incinerators).  Comments can be filed at


December 14, 2011:

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 234 to 193 to pass a bill to extend the payroll tax cut that included a rider provision to delay the Boiler MACT rule until 2018. Critics called this rider, along with a provision that would move up work on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, “poison pills” that would ensure the bill’s ultimate defeat. As the bill moved to the Senate for considering, the White House threatened to veto it based on the Keystone provision.


Boiler MACT Rule Talking Points. American Legislative Exchange Council. December, 2011

EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck: Strategies for State Legislators. American Legislative Exchange Council. February 2011.

Lack of Benefits From the Regulatory Train Wreck. American Legislative Exchange Council. December, 2011.

EPA’s Boiler MACT Rules Still a Threat. Heritage Foundation. May 25, 2011.

The Economic Impact of Proposed EPA Boiler/Process Heater MACT Rule on Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boiler and Process Heater Operators. IHS/Global Insight. August, 2010.

The Boiler MACT Project: Regulation for the Real World. Reason Foundation Policy Brief 100. April 2012.

EPA’s Pretense of Science: Regulating Phantom Risks. Texas Public Policy Foundation. May, 2012.