EPA asks DC Circuit to reject challenge to boiler rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has urged the D.C. Circuit to reject a challenge to a rule that establishes toxic emission standards for large boilers.

The opposition from industry groups and environmentalists argue that the EPA overstepped its boundaries when it required existing sources to perform an energy assessment on equipment that was not part of the defined source category without satisfying the requirements for a more “beyond-the-floor” standard, according to Law 360. The EPA responded on Monday, in a brief, saying that requiring an energy assessment is consistent with the Clean Air Act. The EPA went on to say that the assessment could result in lower fuel usage, due to more efficient combustion. The assessment also could help achieve additional emission reductions.

“An energy assessment is precisely the type of beyond-the-floor standard contemplated by Congress, which directed EPA to implement such standards through all means of ‘measures, processes, methods, systems or techniques’ available to reduce the volume of, or eliminate emissions of [hazardous air pollutants],” the brief said.

The rule, which was published in 2013, sets national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for large boilers used at industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. The rule establishes maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for 32 subcategories of boilers.

The case is U.S. Sugar Corp. et al. v. U.S. EPA et al., number 11-1108, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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