EPA to Postpone Boiler Rules Amid Industry Group Complaints

The Environmental Protection Agency said it will delay new standards for industrial boilers, giving the Obama administration time to change the rule opposed by industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber, the nation’s biggest business lobby, and the National Association of Manufacturers asked the EPA last month to postpone the air regulations. The agency said in February, when it issued the standards under court order, that it would reconsider the rules, aimed at cutting toxic emissions such as mercury and soot.

The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners last year said the proposal would cost the industry $20 billion and as many as 300,000 jobs. The EPA, which estimated costs at $9.5 billion, responded by issuing rules it said were 50 percent less expensive and pledging to make more changes as needed.

The EPA’s delay of the May 21 effective date will “allow the agency to continue to seek additional public comment before an updated rule is proposed,” the EPA said today in an e-mailed statement.

Reconsideration of the rule, which prompted more than 4,800 comments from businesses and communities after being proposed in April 2010, is in line with President Barack Obama’s January order that agencies ensure that regulations don’t unnecessarily hurt U.S. economic growth.

The Washington-based National Association of Manufacturers praised EPA’s decision to rework the boiler rules.

“This will alleviate job creators from burdensome and costly regulations while the EPA goes through the reconsideration process,” the group said today in an e-mail. It “removes a level of uncertainty found among manufactures that has discouraged future investment and job growth.”

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