H.R. 2250: EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011

H.R. 2250

EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011

Date
October 5, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Thursday, October 6, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2250 under a rule.  The rule makes in order 22 amendments that are pre-printed in the Congressional Record and are debatable under the five minute rule.  The rule also provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and for a motion to recommit with or without instructions.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) on June 21, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 2250 would provide a legislative stay of four interrelated Environmental Protection Agency rules, commonly referred to as the “Boiler MACT rules,” that govern emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from approximately 200,000 boilers and incinerators nationwide.  These rules are:

  1. National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters;
  2. National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers;
  3. Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units; and
  4. Identification of Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That Are Solid Waste.

The bill would also provide for the replacement of the Boiler MACT rules.  Specifically, H.R. 2250 would require the Administrator of the EPA to promulgate, 15 months from the date of enactment, new regulations for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters and commercial and industrial solid waste incinerator units.  These new rules must:

  1. Establish maximum achievable control technology standards, performance standards, and other requirements for hazardous air pollutants or solid waste combustion under the Clean Air Act; and
  2. Identify non-hazardous secondary materials that, when used as fuels or ingredients in combustion units of such boilers, heaters, or incinerator units, are solid waste under the Solid Waste Disposal Act for purposes of determining the extent to which such combustion units are required to meet emission standards for such pollutants under such Act.

The bill would extend the compliance period for employers for at least five years, based on real world considerations.  Specifically, H.R. 2250 would require the EPA Administrator to establish compliance dates for these standards after considering compliance costs, non-air quality health and environmental impacts and energy requirements, the feasibility of implementation, the availability of equipment, suppliers, and labor, and potential net employment impacts.

The bill would also set forth guidelines for such rules and regulations, including requiring the Administrator to:

  1. Ensure that emissions standards for existing and new sources can be met under actual operating conditions consistently and concurrently with emission standards for all other air pollutants regulated by the rule for the source category; and
  2. Impose the least burdensome regulatory alternative for each regulation promulgated.

Background

According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the EPA’s new Boiler MACT rules are exceedingly complex and unduly onerous.  Together, these four rules span 276 pages and impose control and monitoring standards for 11 subcategories of boilers and process heaters that vary by design and fuel type.  These rules require boiler owners to conduct emissions testing and comply with complex control standards.  There are approximately 200,000 boilers nationwide.  Hospitals, factories, universities, farms, and thousands of major American employers will be directly impacted by these rules.

Under these new Boiler MACT rules, many traditional alternative fuels – such as biomass, scrap tires, used oil, and other materials – may be deemed “solid waste” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  This means that boilers, cement kilns, industrial furnaces and other combustion units that burn those materials will henceforth be required to meet even more rigid emissions requirements, jeopardizing many highly successful national recycling programs. 

EPA officials have estimated that the capital cost of implementing these rules will be $9.5 billion, but a recent study prepared by IHS Global Insight puts the figure at $20 billion.  The precise cost of these stringent rules may still be unknown, but they will undoubtedly impose significant new regulatory costs on employers and small businesses that could lead to factory closures and job losses.  A study by the American Forest and Paper Association concluded that the Boiler MACT rules put more than 20,000 forest industry jobs at risk – 18 percent of the entire workforce at U.S. pulp and paper mills.

The EPA Regulatory Relief Act would alleviate the excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules by replacing them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 2250 would have a net cost of $1 million over the next five years. Enacting this legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Amendments

Amendment No. 1—Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL):  This amendment would add a congressional finding that would read, “Mercury released into the ambient air from industrial boilers and waste incinerators addressed by the rules listed in section 2(b) of this Act is a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain.”

Amendment No. 2—Rep. Edwards (D-MD):  This amendment would add a congressional finding that would read, “According to the Environmental Protection Agency's analysis of the impacts of the final rules specified in section 3(b)(1) and section (3)(b)(2) on employment, based on peer-reviewed literature, such rules would create 2,200 net additional jobs, not including the jobs created to manufacture and install equipment to reduce air pollution.”

Amendment No. 3—Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX):  This amendment would change the proposed compliance period for employers from a minimum of five years to no more than three years.

Amendment No. 4—Rep. Doyle (D-PA):  This amendment would require the EPA Administrator to establish compliance dates in accordance with the Clean Air Act.  The amendment would allow for an extension of the compliance period if the EPA Administrator determines there is a “compelling reason” to do so.  The date for compliance could be extended “up to one year, but in no case beyond the date that is five years after the effective date of such regulation.”

Amendment No. 5—Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR): This amendment would add two congressional findings:

  • Section 112(e) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412(e)) requires the rules specified in section 3(b)(1) and (2) to be promulgated no later than the year 2000, and section 112(i) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 7412(i)) requires emissions reductions mandated by such rules to be achieved no later than 2003.
  • Section 129 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7429) requires the rule specified in section 3(b)(3) to be promulgated no later than the year 1994, and section 112(f) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 7412(f)) requires emissions reductions mandated by such rule to be achieved no later than 1999.

Amendment No. 6—Rep. Rush (D-IL): This amendment would specify that the Act is “intended to supplement the provisions of” the Clean Air Act, not to “supersede any requirement, limitation, or other provision of” it.

Amendment No. 7—Rep. Quigley (D-IL):  This amendment would add a section titled “Protection From Avoidable Cases of Cancer” that would read as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Administrator shall not delay actions pursuant to the rules identified in section 2(b) of this Act to reduce emissions from waste incinerators or industrial boilers at chemical facilities, oil refineries, or large manufacturing facilities if such emissions are increasing the risk of cancer.”

Amendment No. 8—Rep. Waxman (D-CA):  This amendment would add a congressional finding that “according to the Environmental Protection Agency, if the rule specified in section 3(b)(1) remains in effect, it will yield annual public health benefits of $22 billion to $54 billion, while the costs of such rule are $1.9 billion.”

Amendment No. 9—Rep. Waxman (D-CA):  This amendment would add a section titled “Protection For Infants and Children” that would read as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Administrator shall not delay actions pursuant to the rules identified in section 2(b) of this Act to reduce emissions from waste incinerators or industrial boilers at chemical facilities, oil refineries, or large manufacturing facilities if such emissions are harming brain development or causing learning disabilities in infants or children.”

Amendment No. 10—Rep. Waxman (D-CA):  This amendment would add a section titled “Determination; Authorization” that would read as follows: “Not later 10 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Comptroller General of the United States, and the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, shall make a determination regarding whether this Act authorizes the appropriation of funds to implement this Act and, if so, whether this Act reduces an existing authorization of appropriations by an offsetting amount. The provisions of this Act shall cease to be effective if it is determined that this Act authorizes the appropriation of funds without an offsetting reduction in an existing authorization of appropriations.”

Amendment No. 11—Rep. Waxman (D-CA):  This amendment would add a section titled “Compliance With Cut-Go” that would read as follows: “If this Act authorizes the appropriation of funds to implement this Act and does not reduce an existing authorization of appropriations to offset that amount, then the provisions of this Act shall cease to be effective.”

Amendment No. 12—Rep. Ellison (D-MN):  This amendment would allow the EPA Administrator to unilaterally shorten the compliance period if he/she finds “that such regulation will create more than 1,000 jobs.”

Amendment No. 13—Rep. Ellison (D-MN):  This amendment would strike “non-air quality'' from section 3(a)(2)(B), so that it would read as follows: “any health and environmental impact and energy requirements of the standards and requirement.”

Amendment No. 14—Rep. Ellison (D-MN):  This amendment would strike section five of the underlying bill in its entirety.

Amendment No. 15—Rep. Hahn (D-CA):  This amendment would require that the Boiler MACT rules continue to be in effect within the jurisdictions of the ten metropolitan areas of the U.S. with the worst air quality.  The amendment would also require that, with respect to sources of air pollution in any of the ten metropolitan areas with the worst air quality, the provisions of the regulations be strengthened to make them “equally or more protective of public health and the environment than the corresponding provisions of the rules.” 

The amendment would also define the term “metropolitan area” as “the metropolitan statistical area or consolidated metropolitan statistical area (as established by the Bureau of the Census) most closely corresponding to the city or group of cities ranked among the cities with the worst year-round particle pollution in the “State of the Air 2011” report of the American Lung Association; and a metropolitan statistical area or consolidated metropolitan statistical area (as established by the Bureau of the Census).” 

Finally, the amendment would define the term “Ten metropolitan areas of the United States with the worst air quality'' to mean the ten metropolitan areas listed in the “State of the Air 2011” report of the American Lung Association as having the worst year-round particle pollution; and the ten metropolitan areas determined by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to have the highest year-round levels of particulate matter in the air.

Amendment No. 16—Rep. Capps (D-CA):  This amendment would add a congressional finding that “according to the Environmental Protection Agency, if the rules specified in section 3(b) are in effect, then for every dollar in costs, the rules will provide at least $10 to $24 in health benefits, due to the avoidance each year of—(1) 2,600 to 6,600 premature deaths; (2) 4,100 nonfatal heart attacks; (3) 4,400 hospital and emergency room visits; (4) 42,000 cases of aggravated asthma; and (5) 320,000 days of missed work or school.”

Amendment No. 17—Rep. Connolly (D-VA):  This amendment would add a section titled “Protection From Respiratory and Cardiovascular Illness And Death” that would read as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Administrator shall not delay actions pursuant to the rules identified in section 2(b) of this Act to reduce emissions from waste incinerators or industrial boilers at chemical facilities, oil refineries, or large manufacturing facilities if such emissions are causing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and deaths, including cases of heart attacks, asthma attacks, and bronchitis, in communities with air pollution levels that exceed the health-based air quality standards.”

Amendment No. 18—Rep. Connolly (D-VA):  This amendment would add a section titled “Protection From Respiratory and Cardiovascular Illness And Death” that would read as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Administrator shall not delay actions pursuant to the rules identified in section 2(b) of this Act to reduce emissions from waste incinerators or industrial boilers at chemical facilities, oil refineries, or large manufacturing facilities if such emissions are causing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and deaths, including cases of heart attacks, asthma attacks, and bronchitis.”

Amendment No. 19—Rep. Welch (D-VT):  This amendment would add a congressional finding “that the American people are exposed to mercury from industrial sources addressed by the rules listed in section 2(b) of this Act through the consumption of fish containing mercury and every State in the Nation has issued at least one mercury advisory for fish consumption.”

Amendment No. 20—Rep. Pallone (D-NJ): This amendment would add a congressional finding that “Federal departments and agencies should support efforts to achieve the science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans through reduced exposure to mercury that are established in Healthy People 2020 and were developed under the leadership of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during two presidential administrations."

Additionally, the amendment would add a section titled “Reducing Blood-Mercury Concentrations” that would read as follows: “The provisions of this Act shall cease to be effective, and the rules specified in section 3(b) shall be revived and restored, if the Administrator finds, in consultation with the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that by allowing continued uncontrolled emissions of mercury from industrial boilers and waste incinerators, this Act threatens to impede efforts to achieve the science-based, 10-year national objective for reducing mercury concentrations in children's blood that is established in Healthy People 2020.”

Amendment No. 21—Rep. Speier (D-CA):  This amendment would strike everything after the enacting clause and insert, instead, a requirement that the Administrator of the EPA submit to Congress, within six months of the Act’s enactment, “a report with respect to the emissions control technologies in use by the best-performing 12 percent of industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters, and commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units, that were evaluated to develop [the Boiler MACT rules].”

The amendment would require the report to include the following: (1) A description of the emissions control efforts of such boilers, process heaters, and incineration units; (2) The cost-efficient and cost-effective strategies employed by such sources to reduce emissions; (3) A description of the emissions control technologies that such sources are using that will achieve compliance with the rules listed in subsection (b); and (4) Identification of manufacturing industries involved in making emissions control technologies in use by such sources.

Amendment No. 22—Rep. Cohen (D-TN):  This amendment would require the EPA Administrator to consider “potential reductions in the number of illness-related absences from work due to respiratory or other illnesses” when establishing the compliance date.