Newest Boiler Rule Applies To 1 Percent Of Industry

The latest EPA rule reducing the level of mercury, lead and other pollutants emitted by industry boilers only applies to 1 percent of the industry, the EPA announced today. Still, industry has heavily opposed the relatively minor burden with vast health benefits, and House GOP have already voted to delay and weaken new standards.

The EPA’s revised rule applies to a small fraction of the polluters, exempting the vast majority from any significant investment to meet the new air quality standards:

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Gina McCarthy, head of the E.P.A.’s office of air and radiation, said Friday that the new rules for boilers and incinerators were written to minimize costs and maximize benefits … She noted that 99 percent of the 1.5 million boilers in the United States would be exempt from the new rules or could meet them simply by performing routine maintenance and tune-ups. Only a fraction of the 14,000 boilers that are major sources of mercury, soot and other pollutants will be required to install abatement equipment, she said.

The EPA claims the health benefits are the same under the new rule, which would prevent 8,100 deaths, 5,100 heart attacks and 52,000 asthma attacks annually. The health benefits of cleaner air, estimated to save $27 billion to $67 billion, overwhelm the $2 billion cost of the industry’s compliance.