The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new Clean Air Act rules last month. The Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules will affect some 200,000 industrial, commercial and institutional boilers in the United States. The EPA proposed a similar rule last year, but made changes due to the high compliance costs. The new rules are expected to cost 50% less than the originally proposed regulations.
The EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to cut these pollutants, the public will see between $10 and $24 in health benefits. By limiting toxic emissions into the air, the new standards will avoid between 2,600 to 6,600 premature deaths, prevent 4,100 heart attacks and avert 42,000 asthma attacks per year by 2014. The EPA managed to achieve significant pollution reduction and important health benefits, while lowering the cost of pollution control installation and maintenance by about $1.8 billion.
“The Clean Air Act standards we are issuing today are based on the best available science and have benefitted from significant public input,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA‘s Office of Air and Radiation. “As a result, they put in place important public health safeguards to cut harmful toxic air emissions that affect children’s development, aggravate asthma and cause heart attacks at costs substantially lower than we had estimated under our original proposal.”
Due to the vast changes made since the original proposal, the EPA will seek additional public review and comments. The EPA will release additional details on the reconsideration process in the near future to ensure the public, industry and stakeholders have an opportunity to participate.