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EPA Announces New Air Pollution Standards for Industrial Boilers

The EPA has announced new air pollution standards for industrial boilers. The final rule is more business friendly than the version the agency proposed last spring, but local industries may still have reason for concern. Andrew Schneider reports.

EPA sealThe new rule will tighten limits on mercury and other toxic emissions. Refineries, chemical plants and other large industrial facilities will have to install new pollution control technology by 2014.

EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy sought to allay business concerns that the rule, as originally framed, was unworkable.

“They are realistic, they are achievable and reasonable, and they come at about half the cost to industry to comply than the original proposal. In fact, the final rule lowers the cost of installing and maintaining pollution controls by about $1.8 billion below that that we had anticipated when the proposed rule went out in May of 2010.”

Lisa Jaeger, a partner with the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, says final rule is an improvement. But she says it’s still uncertain whether companies can afford to comply.

“A too costly rule could shift the balance in favor of shifting the jobs offshore.”

The EPA estimates the pollution controls will help prevent between 2,600 and 6,600 premature deaths per year.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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