EPA – Ozone Transport Plan: CIBO and Coalition Register Strong Concerns

CIBO is joining with the Midwest Ozone Group (MOG) and other industrial sector trade coalitions to submit formal comments and to register detailed, constructive input on the proposed Regional Ozone Transport Rule. Put simply, we see major flaws and deep problems with this proposal. The larger goal with our response efforts is to be sure that the rulemaking record includes specifics on the flaws, both fundamental and technical – tied into the data, the assumptions, analyses and conclusions of the regulation, which pertain to industrial sources. Be assured that we will certainly share our final comments to you once submitted later this month. We appreciate the help and input on this effort from CIBO members!

Our formal comments address several critical policy concerns and technical issues where our members have deep expertise. The Rule, an ambitious proposal to expand and strengthen the CSAPR interstate emission program, would promulgate Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) requirements under the Clean Air Act for twenty-six identified states, including several Western states as well, tied to interstate transfer affecting the attainment of the 2015 Ozone NAAQS. As outlined by the EPA, the proposal is designed to ensure that states meet their “good neighbor” obligations under the CAA, which directs states to craft state implementation plans, or SIPs to mitigate their “significant contribution” to the problems of downwind states attaining and maintaining NAAQS. This proposed rule includes requirements for certain industrial source categories (non-EGUs) in twenty-three states , with unit – specific emissions limitations beginning in 2026, affecting existing and new units, to help attain interstate ozone reduction goals. EPA has asserted that it has taken this step directed at industrial unit sources based on its evaluation of air quality modeling information, annual emissions and potential controls. The Rule includes seven identified non-EGU source categories covered by the proposed FIP: boilers and other types of emission units in chemical manufacturing, pulp, paper and paperboard mills, iron and steel mills, gas pipelines, glass manufacturing, cement and concrete operations, and oil refining and coal products manufacturing. In addition, unlike the EGU’s, the affected industrial sector units within the 23-state region are not included in the EPA allowance trading program. Allowance trading for the EGUs is designed to enable more cost – effective NOx emission reductions, as well as compliance flexibility.

Until this point, EPA has regulated non-utility boilers under the CSAPR. The data contained in the docket for the proposed rule indicates that only limited emissions reductions can be achieved within the same cost-effectiveness ($/ton) applied to the EGUs. EPA also appears to have overestimated the reductions this proposed rule could achieve overall, while significantly underestimating the costs of compliance. Many industrial sectors, in fact, have experienced significant decreases in NOx emissions in recent years, as facilities have worked to lower energy costs, improve efficiencies, and reduce emissions. In addition, with the implementation of Boiler MACT standards and other NAAQS reductions, many industrial facilities have also indirectly achieved lower NOx reductions, including by way of fuel-switching. This proposed FIP comes as EPA has also acted recently to formally disapprove the Good Neighbor plans of many of the so-called upwind states. Industry sectors are urging EPA to re-orient and apply its regulatory aim to NOX sources geographically closer to downwind monitors. In their general public responses to the proposed rule, industrial sectors have also noted their support for some specific provisions recommended. For example, EPA has asked for submission of public comment on their recommendation to continue to exempt cogeneration units – those that already meet the Acid Rain Program exemption requirements. Past EPA analyses has given clear indications that little additional NOx reductions could be realized by including these units, among other reasons. CIBO will keep you updated on our efforts and further developments.