4 The record articles

Widespread Applicability and Energy Assessment Highlight the Proposed New Boiler MACT Rules

Posted: June 11th, 2010

Author: All4 Staff 

As we reported in last month’s 4 The Record, April 29, 2010 was a busy day for U.S. EPA and marked the culmination of years of background effort and planning related to air toxic emissions from boilers. U.S. EPA has proposed four (4) rules that, when finalized, will impact thousands of facilities. Two (2) of these rules are intended to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from boilers and process heaters located at both major and area sources of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions (Boiler MACT rules). 

Widespread Applicability and New Challenges for Industry 

ALL4 recognizes that these proposed new rules will affect almost the entire regulated community and we have assembled an internal RegTech team of experts to analyze the impact that this rulemaking will have on boilers and process heaters everywhere. ALL4’s opinion of the proposed Boiler MACT rules is that they contain some very restrictive emission limitations and onerous monitoring requirements for both existing and new sources. In their present form, the proposed new Boiler MACT rules will present a compliance challenge for many facilities. 

New Energy Assessment Requirement 

One interesting new feature present in both Boiler MACT rules is the requirement to perform an energy assessment. No other MACT standard requires affected sources to perform an energy assessment; however, we’re not all that surprised to see it in light of where U.S. EPA seems to be heading with their regulatory development process. Most are aware of U.S. EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory activities. The energy assessment requirement appears to bridge the GHG regulations and the MACT standards. Furthermore, one of the first considerations of a climate change GHG reduction strategy or GHG Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis is to perform an energy assessment. The energy assessment is a constant theme in these regulatory activities because improved energy efficiency means less fuels burned, and less fuel burned means less criteria pollutants, less HAPs, and less GHG emissions. 

In reviewing the preambles, the proposed rules, and the rule summary tables, U.S. EPA has not clearly communicated what equipment must be included in the energy assessment. In some places, the rules refer to conducting the assessment on the boiler steam system, and in other places there are references to conducting the assessment on the entire facility which implies that the assessment needs to include all energy consuming activities. It’s critical that U.S. EPA clarify their intent surrounding energy assessments because they could require considerable time and resources to prepare. 

There is one difference between the proposed energy assessment requirements for major sources and area sources. Major sources must also develop an energy management program using the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management. The ENERGY STAR website indicates that an energy management program must include procedures that are put into place to continually assess and improve energy usage. 

With a deadline for comment submittal of only 60 days after publication in the Federal Register (i.e., by August 3, 2010), we encourage you to take part in the public process and submit comments, either through a trade organization or your company. 

We’re wrapping up our 4 Part Boiler MACT and CISWI Webinar Series. If you missed out on the series, be sure to check out our presentation slides. Stay tuned for more in-depth updates over the coming months in ALL4’s 4 The Record and 4 The Record Extra


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