Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised its proposed emissions limits for industrial boilers, saying the changes provided more flexibility.
The agency today issued the latest version of its plan to reduce emissions levels for air pollution such as mercury and soot after announcing the rule Feb. 21. With the latest changes, the standards will affect less than 1 percent of boilers in the U.S. and will cost about $1.5 billion less than a 2010 proposal, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.
The rule, which may require upgrades of pollution controls at paper mills, chemical manufacturers and refineries, may cost $3 billion, President Barack Obama said in an Aug. 30 letter to Republican House Speaker John Boehner. The EPA proposed the rule in February on orders of a federal court. The agency said May 16 that it would delay implementation, giving the public more time to comment.
The EPA is proposing “more flexible compliance options for meeting the particle pollution and carbon monoxide limits,” the agency said in the statement.
For companies that use boilers, the rule may cost $14.3 billion and put 230,000 jobs at risk in 26 different sectors, including construction and chemical manufacturing, according to the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, a trade group based in Warrenton, Virginia.
The EPA’s rules to restrict air pollution may create a market valued at $24 billion for Babcock & Wilcox Co. of Charlotte, North Carolina, Chief Executive Officer Brandon C. Bethards said during a May 10 conference call.
Shaw Group, Fluor
Other companies that provide pollution controls, including the Shaw Group of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fluor Corp. of Irving, Texas, may also benefit, John Rogers, head of institutional equity research at D.A. Davidson and Co. in Lake Oswego, Oregon, said in a phone interview.
The boiler rule, which is meant to protect Americans from cancer and asthma, may prevent as many as 8,100 deaths in 2015, the EPA said today. The agency said it plans to make today’s proposed changes final in the spring of 2012.
Senators Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, have sponsored legislation to give the EPA 15 months to write new rules and at least five years to implement them. The House passed similar legislation Oct. 13.
The House bill is H.R. 2250. The Senate bill is S. 1392
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