The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reconsidering aspects of its Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule. The reconsideration, which the EPA released Dec. 1, 2014, affects air toxicity standards that limit air-pollutant emissions from major industrial, commercial and institutional boilers; process heaters and area industrial, commercial and institutional boilers; and commercial and industrial solid-waste incineration (CISWI) units.
Why should the industrial furnace industry care about a boiler rule?
The title of the rule references boilers, and IHEA members do not make boilers, nor does the scope of our mission encompass boilers. Our burner and control manufacturers that are involved in the production of boilers and boiler systems have those interests represented through ABMA.
The issue here is in the wording of the rule: “…pollutant emissions from major industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters.” While the ruling itself has been fairly ambiguous on definitions, a publication in the Federal Register defined a process heater as “…an enclosed device using controlled flame, and the unit’s primary purpose is to transfer heat indirectly to a process material. Process heaters are devices in which the combustion gases do not come into direct contact with process materials.”
Another definition in the same article said: “Metal process furnaces are a sub-category of process heaters, which include natural gas-fired annealing furnaces, preheat furnaces, reheat furnaces, aging furnaces, heat-treat furnaces and homogenizing furnaces.”
Obviously, this definition threatens to apply this rule directly onto many IHEA members’ products as well as the furnace industry at large. Discussion within IHEA’s Government Relations committee has revealed that customers have had this rule applied specifically to radiant-tube heated furnaces and a wide range of other equipment.
What are the primary concerns?
There are several issues with the Boiler MACT rule.
• To what specific equipment will this rule apply?
• While the rule is currently applied only to “major source” installations, at what point will a similar rule be promulgated to smaller locations?
• The audit provisions in the current rule are fairly extensive. If the definitions of equipment or plant size are broadened, do the resources exist within industry to even be able to properly complete the required audits and paperwork to comply with the rules?
• Once (or if) we have clarification on equipment definitions, will they be firm definitions, or will they be subject to interpretation by local EPA offices? Will there be additional requirements set up by individual states that take the regulations further?
What is IHEA proposing to do about the rule?
IHEA’s Government Relations committee has asked LobbyIt, IHEA’s Government Relations firm in Washington, D.C., to attempt to set up discussions and a potential meeting with the EPA to seek clarification on the rule. IHEA members would be a much better resource to their customers if we could accurately state what equipment falls under the rule and what the effects are on that customer and their operations.
IHEA invites anyone who is concerned about the impact of these rules on your business or your customer’s business to become an IHEA member. Visit www.ihea.org or call Andy Goyer, IHEA’s Government Relations Staff Liaison, at 941-373-1830.