Cutting Toxic Pollution
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US has announced that it will make it much cheaper for companies to reduce toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators. The EPA said it has found ways to control pollution at more than 200,000 industrial boilers, heaters and incinerators nationwide at a 50 percent cost savings to the companies and institutions that run them. That would save $1.8 billion and still avert thousands of changes will create 2,200 jobs, and that doesn’t include employment stemming from purchases of pollution-control technology.
The deep discount for polluting industries sends a message to Congress that public health benefits can be achieved more economically, and that the administration is serious about President Barack Obama’s January18 executive order to review regulations that hurt job growth.
Republicans and some Democrats have harshly criticized the EPA recently over the refineries, chemical plants, hospitals and even churches. They are also the secondlargest source of toxic mercury emissions in the United States after coal-fired power plants. Mercury is a metal that even at low levels can cause subtle but serious damage to the brain and senses.
The new rule would imply that the bulk of industrial boilers at small facilities would not have to meet certain pollution standards. Instead, they would have to do tune-ups every two years to reduce emissions. The heart attacks and asthma cases a year, the agency said.
These rules “put in place important public health safeguards...at costs substantially lower than we had estimated under our original proposal,” Gina McCarthy, EPA’s top air pollution official, said in a statement.
Besides the environmental benefits, the announcement hopes to create jobs in the market too. An updated jobs analysis completed by the agency shows the costs of a whole host of regulations. At least a half-dozen bills have been introduced this year to block or curtail agency regulations. It has been reported that four Republicans and two Democrats wrote that the boiler rule could make municipalities, universities, and federal facilities vulnerable to “excessive and expensive regulatory burdens.”
Industrial boilers, which burn coal and other fuels to generate steam and hot water for heat and electricity, are used by roughly 13,800 large industrial boilers at refineries, chemical plants and other factories would still have to comply with new emissions standards requiring them to install technologies to reduce pollution in three years.
The EPA also reduced compliance costs by exempting clean-burning fuels from meeting the new emissions limits, something that initially applied only to natural gas-fired boilers