The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked the federal District Court for the District of Columbia for more time to issue rules related to emissions from large and small boilers and solid waste incinerators.The agency has been developing the rules and defending legal challenges around them for a decade.

EPA said it needs more time to re-propose the rules based on what it called a “full assessment of information received since the rules were proposed.” The rules would cut emissions of harmful pollutants, including mercury and soot. 

To meet a court order requiring EPA to issue final rules in January 2011, the agency proposed standards in April 2010. While EPA requested and received some information from industry before the proposal, EPA said comments it received following the proposal shed new light on a number of key areas, including the scope and coverage of the rules and the way to categorize the various boiler-types. After reviewing the data and the more than 4,800 public comments, the agency said it believes it is appropriate to issue a revised proposal. 

EPA is under a court order to issue final rules on Jan. 16, 2011. It sought in its motion to the court to extend the schedule to finalize the rules by April 2012.EPA told the court that if it grants the requested modification, the agency will publish the revised proposals for these three rules no later than June 1, 2011 and promulgate the final emission standards no later than April 13, 2012.

“This is an achievable, but very aggressive schedule for a re-proposal,” EPA said in court documents. EPA said developing the proposed emission standards took much longer than had anticipated during 2006 court proceedings in large part because the D.C. Circuit issued three decisions in 2007 that required EPA to substantially modify its methodology for developing maximum achievable control technology emission standards.

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