Industry Issues

NACAA Issues (Revision 1) June 28, 2008
The USEPA issued the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (BMACT) rule intended to further regulate industrial boiler emissions. The rule was successfully challenged in court and overturned (i.e. vacated) by the courts approximately 1 month prior to its implementation deadline. The court noted that the USEPA needed to distinguish between “fuels” and “wastes” in its rule making. This court action necessitated the revision of the BMACT data base by USEPA. The USEPA averts that the court decision triggered section 112j of the Clean Air Act (CAA) which required that the state agencies impose emissions limits equivalent to those that would have been required under BMACT. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) conducted a series of data requests thru its members and announced plans to issue a “model rule” in May 2008 to provide guidance to its members in dealing with the 112j issues. The “model rule” contained limits on particulate matter (PM) and CO levels with the CO levels being at the 20 ppm level. NACAA further tied the emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) to CO emissions levels. The boiler/fuels data base used by NACAA appears to be small compared to the total US industrial and commercial boiler population and excludes states such as California. Currently the USEPA has begun the process of revising the underlying BMACT data base in light of the court decisions as a prelude to rewriting the BMACT rule. The overall process of data base collection/revision and rule writing is expected to take several years.


The “model rule” would tend to undercut USEPA efforts to re establish BMACT based on a larger more representative boiler and fuels data base as well as set a new low emissions rate for CO. The proposed new low CO emissions rate could return to haunt the industrial boiler owner in other rule makings in the future. In addition the linkage would be made between CO emissions and HAP emissions that would not necessarily be valid for all units. While the “model rule” would be issued to all state agencies, there is no mandate, per se, for each, or any, state to implement the “model rule” in the as published form, giving rise to the potential for multiple state level BMACT rules. The correlation, if any, between the NACAA “model rule” and the mandated new USEPA BMACT rule is unknown, since the revised BMACT rule is, as yet, unwritten, opening the industrial boiler owner to the possibility of successive waves of BMACT emission rules.


CIBO reviewed the limited information issued by NACAA consisting of basically a series of graphs indicating CO and PM emissions. No underlying data or proposed rule language was made available. CIBO responded to NACAA with a letter noting that the lack of access to the underlying data made it impossible for CIBO to render definitive comments on the adequacy of the rule but that the “model rule” appeared to fail to take into account the size, diversity, and fuel mix of the US boiler population.

Subsequently CIBO advised the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that CIBO had not been privy to the underlying data, did not conduct any technical analysis, and did not review the language or outline of the rule.