Partial reprint of EPA’s Announcement dated January 11, 2024
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a proposal to strengthen Clean Air Act standards for large facilities that burn municipal solid waste. If finalized, the updated standards would reduce emissions of nine pollutants, including smog- and soot-forming sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, by approximately 14,000 tons per year, improving air quality for overburdened communities living near these facilities. These proposed standards reflect current technologies available to control pollution in a cost-effective fashion.
The proposed standards would apply to 57 facilities with 152 units that have the capacity to combust more than 250 tons per day of municipal solid waste. Nearly 4 million Americans live within 3 miles of these large facilities, which are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color.
The proposed standards are based on emission levels achieved by the best controlled and lower-emitting sources, and limit emissions of nine pollutants: particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, cadmium, mercury, and dioxins/furans.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to evaluate these standards every five years in order to take into account developments in pollution control technologies and techniques. EPA last revised these standards in 2006.
After accounting for compliance costs of the rule, EPA estimated the net present value of health benefits from the proposed rule, due to reductions in particulate matter and ozone alone, to be up to $14 billion over 20 years. Reductions of mercury, lead, and other hazardous air pollutants required by the proposal are expected to result in additional unquantified economic and public health benefits.
EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold an informational webinar and will announce details on its website shortly.