Alexander: EPA Boiler MACT Rule “Belongs on Another Planet”

Says clean air in Tennessee “means good jobs;” urges EPA to grant more flexibility in some emissions regulations

Posted on June 15, 2011

WASHINGTON – At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing today on the Clean Air Act, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson that the agency’s proposed regulation of emissions from industrial and commercial boilers, the so-called Boiler MACT rule, “belongs on another planet somewhere,” adding: “It’s completely unrealistic; it’s not based on real-world achievability; it may be the most expensive such rule ever proposed.”

Alexander continued: “Having low-cost energy is an important part of making it easier and cheaper to create good new jobs in this country. I believe we can do that with rules on sulfur, nitrogen and mercury over a reasonable period of time, but the boiler MACT rule and the rules on other pollutants send the costs into the stratosphere.”

Alexander continued his support for clean air rules for sulfur, nitrogen, and mercury produced by coal-fired power plants and said TVA’s recent decision to either close its coal plants or put pollution control equipment on all of its remaining plants by 2020 would make it easier for Tennessee communities to attract new jobs: “When the Nissan plant was thinking about locating in the United States 20 years ago, it thought of Tennessee, and the first thing the officials did was to go down to the state air quality board and get an air quality permit for their paint plant. And because the air was clean enough for them to get it, Nissan located there, and today a state that had almost no auto jobs has about a third of its manufacturing jobs in the auto business. In other words, clean air for us means good jobs.”

Last year, Alexander and Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced “The Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010,” legislation that would cut mercury emissions by 90 percent from coal-fired power plants and tighten national limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX). The EPA estimates that Carper and Alexander’s legislation would save more than 215,000 lives and more than $2 trillion in health care costs by 2025, by cleaning the air and thereby reducing Americans’ likelihood of suffering from chronic lung disease, asthma, or lung cancer.

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