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Environmental Regulation

With a new wave of regulations under development by EPA, wood products companies face the potential for more than $3 billion in new regulatory costs in coming years. EPA is in the process of tightening its MACT standards for boilers as well as determining which materials are allowed to be burned in boilers and which materials if burned make the combustion unit an “incinerator.” These rules could affect the viability of some mills.  EPA also is contemplating a complete overhaul of the Wood MACT (Plywood and Composite Wood Panels), brought on by a 2007 court decision tossing out parts of EPA’s 2004 rules. Recognized by EPA as the industry’s voice, AWC’s Environmental Regulation Program can credibly provide the Agency with data and policy recommendations that ensure the wood products industry’s interests are understood and respected and if necessary, represent their interests in court. The industry’s unified engagement in the Environmental Regulation Program has been the key to its success over the past decade.

Defending Against $3 Billion in New Regulatory Costs

Over the past decade the American Wood Council has been very effective in shaping regulatory policies in the wood products industry

By closely engaging with key agency staff, possessing a thorough knowledge of the rule making process, and by constructively and openly sharing information about manufacturing processes, the industry has developed significant credibility with agency policy makers. In addition, AWC’s strong relationships on the Hill provide leverage and oversight of EPA to ensure more balanced policies.

This has led to:

  • Providing over 300 pages of comments on the Boiler MACT rules which led to significant improvements in the March 2011 final rules including limited obligations on boilers at smaller mills and reduced costs for meeting select emission limits;
  • Securing 260 letters to EPA from political officials raising concerns that Boiler MACT would put jobs at risk and harm the economy;
  • Persuading EPA to stay the implementation of the Boiler and Incinerator MACTs while EPA addresses the remaining achievability and affordability concerns;
  • Working with a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives to get Boiler MACT legislation introduced that would give EPA and industry more time to get the rules right and comply, and direct EPA to use its discretion to adopt achievable rules that encourage the use of biomass residuals;
  • Favorable reception at EPA of recommended work practices for proposed new kiln regulations;
  • Retention of start-up, shutdown and malfunction exemptions from Wood MACT;
  • Providing industry input to OSHA and other governmental entities that engage in rule making pertaining to workplace safety;
  • Coordinating industry input to private organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), that help establish consensus standards that influence workplace safety procedures.

 

The U.S. EPA is currently developing new regulations for wood products companies that could cost as much as $4 billion to implement. EPA’s actions are in response to the court decision overturning the 2004 Wood and Boiler MACT rules and are expected to also include:environmental reg

  • Determining whether resinated wood and other biomass residuals will remain classified as fuels or reclassified as solid wastes resulting in much more onerous control requirements;
  • A reassessment of the 2004 MACT for dryers and presses that could further tighten existing limits;
  • Residual risk review where EPA must determine by 2012 if public health risks remain even after the 2004 MACT's implementation;
  • Setting a first-ever new source performance standard (NSPS) for the industry. Though discussed in the late 1970s, an NSPS for wood products has never been pursued by EPA, which would set limits for a suite of additional air pollutants.

EPA is looking to the industry for leadership in developing a unified industry strategy for these environmental issues. That unity will be essential to our success and to help prevent environmental opponents from exploiting differences within the industry to weaken our advocacy and see the most stringent possible regulations imposed.

Click here for more information on this and other regulatory issues.

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