The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers and incinerators that will achieve extensive public health protections by slashing toxic air pollution, including mercury and particle pollution, according to reports.
The new rules target roughly 2,300 boilers, or less than 1 percent of the 1.5 million units operating in the United States, requiring them to meet numerical limits on their release of air toxins.
The agency said it had analyzed new data and input provided by industry groups and states with additional information about real-world performance and conditions under which affected boilers and incinerators operate in order to adjust the rule and propose more targeted revised emission limits.
EPA has also finalized revisions to the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule to provide clarity on what types of secondary materials are considered non-waste fuels and provide greater flexibility in implementation.
Particle pollution and other harmful pollutants released by boilers and incinerators can lead to adverse health effects including cancer, heart disease, aggravated asthma and premature death.
In a separate EPA action today, to meet a court deadline, the agency issued final amendments to the 2010 clean air standards for the cement manufacturing industry. The final amendments maintain the significant emission reductions from the 2010 standards, while providing industry additional time to implement the revised rules. Cement plants will not have to comply with the new limits until September 2015, two years after they were originally set to take place.