EPA Proposes To Strip Affirmative Defenses For Emergencies

The EPA has proposed to remove the affirmative defense provisions for emergencies in the state and federal operating permit programs. 81 Fed. Reg. 38645 (June 14, 2016). Specifically, EPA proposes to simply delete 40 CFR §70.6(g) and §71.6(g). As noted in more detail below, this proposed action is part of an ongoing effort to strip reasonable and long-standing defenses from the regulated community. Continue reading “EPA Proposes To Strip Affirmative Defenses For Emergencies”

The Boiler MACT is Back!

Almost two years after EPA issued the flawed Boiler MACT for major and area sources and a year after the proposed revisions were announced, the revised rule has been published. Conversely, the revised rule provides both additional complexities while relaxing standards for certain types of sources.

Brief History

In March, 2011, EPA published National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) for major sources and area sources of industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters (the Boiler MACT). A major source emits or has the potential to emit 10 tons per year of any single HAP or 25 TPY of any combination of HAP. An area source is any source that is not a major source. Recognizing how flawed the rules were, EPA announced it was reconsidering parts of the rule on the same day it published the final Boiler MACT.

EPA also sought to delay the effective date of the Boiler MACT, until “the proceedings for judicial review of these rules are completed or the EPA completes its reconsideration of the rules, whichever is earlier.” 76 FR 28662 (May 18, 2011). However, the district court struck down the attempted delay. Thereafter, EPA issued a series of No Action Assurance Letters in which EPA announced it would not enforce certain parts of the rule.

A proposed rule was published on December 23, 2011. EPA has now taken final action on the reconsideration. Continue reading “The Boiler MACT is Back!”

The Ever-Expanding Regulatory Burden

The number of regulations and pages in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is already staggering and growing at a record pace. From 2002 to 2008, the number of total pages, by year, in the Federal Register was between a low of 71,269 pages in 2003 and a high of 79,435 pages in 2008. After a dip to 68,598 pages in 2009, the 2010 and 2011 totals were 81,405 and 81,247, respectively. While the number of pages of the Federal Register fluctuated in the 70,000 range until 2010 and 2011, the number of total pages in the Code of Federal Regulations has trended upward from 145,099 in 2002 to 169,301 in 2011. Collectively, federal agencies issued 3,573 final rules in 2010 and 3,807 in 2011, according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of the Federal Register. Continue reading “The Ever-Expanding Regulatory Burden”