EPA Scales Back Rules on Air Pollution

Makes it easier for incinerators to meet federal standards
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2011 7:04 PM CST
This 2006 file photo shows the Conoco Oil Refinery in Rodeo, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

(Newser) – Faced with stiff opposition in Congress and a court-ordered deadline, the EPA today said it will make it much cheaper for companies to reduce toxic air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators. In an overhaul of air pollution regulations, the EPA said it found ways to control pollution at more than 200,000 industrial boilers, heaters, and incinerators nationwide at a 50% cost savings to the companies and institutions that run them.

Those operating large boilers that burn renewable fuels would not be required to install expensive technologies, and smaller boilers would require modest maintenance. That would cost $1.8 billion less each year than the original proposal. Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have criticized the EPA recently over the costs of regulations. "If this doesn't satisfy the critics, I don't think they will take yes for an answer. I don't know how you can expect EPA to do any more than cut the cost of a rule in half," said an attorney with Earthjustice, an advocacy group that sued the agency to draft new boiler regulations.

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