Pittsburgh, PA–(ENEWSPF)–December 2, 2011. Leaders of the United Steelworkers (USW) cited today’s notice of proposed changes to industrial boiler rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an important step in the agency’s responsibility for crafting rules that help preserve family-sustaining jobs and encourage investment in technologies to make America more energy independent.
The rule changes are for the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule (NHSM) and the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers (Boiler MACT).
“The USW would like to commend EPA for all the hard work it has done to be responsive to our union’s concerns with both the NHSM and Boiler MACT rules. We are in the process of assessing the changes, but look forward to continue working with the agency to address any further issues,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said.
While EPA suspended the air rules earlier this year, the agency did not suspend the NHSM rule. “That’s why we are pleased with the decision EPA made in October to re-propose sections of the NHSM rule and today’s notice,” said USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, who leads representation of the union’s paper manufacturing sector. “This is nearly unprecedented and we hope the results show that working in good faith with the agency is the correct approach to ensuring regulations that benefit both workers and the environment.”
Originally issued on March 1, the NHSM rule is designed to sort out which materials would be considered fuel and which would be designated as waste. Waste materials are more stringently regulated under the Clean Air Act than those designated as fuel under the NHSM rule as originally proposed by the EPA.
The NHSM rule was promulgated as part of the Boiler MACT rules, which deal with air emissions from industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and from waste incinerators. Application of the three air rules were suspended in April so EPA could ensure that companies and institutions operating boilers subject to the rules would be able to comply without unduly impacting their ability to operate.
The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean; a majority is employed in industries impacted by the EPA boiler rules. Among them are the metals, rubber, paper and forestry, and oil refining industries. For more: www.usw.org/.