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November 2004

EPA Proposed Mandate Could Cost Forest Products Producers Several Hundred Million Dollars by 2007 Deadline

Houston, TX— According to research performed by Industrial Information Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is knocking on the doors of industrial manufacturing plants again. This time, it comes calling in the name of the latest Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) mandate, widely known as Boiler MACT. Last month, the proposed mandate, which affects all industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters, finally made its way onto the U.S. Federal Register, thereby, starting the clock for which a timetable for notifications and compliance must be met. For the paper and wood products industry, this latest mandate follows a series of EPA regulations that has extracted more than $1 billion from manufacturers over the last ten years. Early estimates place Boiler MACT compliance cost on forest products producers, at several hundred million dollars by the 2007 deadline.

Boiler MACT standards apply only to emission units at a major source of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP’s). A major source of HAP’s, is a facility that emits or has the potential to emit any single HAP at a rate of 10 tons or more per year, or any combination of HAP’s at a rate of 25 tons or more per year. Existing small units of any fuel type and new small units (gas only) are not affected by the new rule. “Small” is defined as any firetube boiler or heater that is less than or equal to 10MM Btu/hr, while large units are any watertube units that are greater than 10MM Btu/hr. Emission limits apply to units that burn solid fuels, liquid fuel alone or with gas, and gaseous fuels. Chemical recovery boilers, hot water heaters, and temporary boilers are not affected.

For those plants with units impacted by the rule, initial notification must be given by March 2005. By September 13, 2007, all boilers or process heaters must be in compliance with all the requirements of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. A May 11, 2008, deadline requires notification within 60 days of completion of performance tests or initial compliance demonstration.

Industrialinfo.com estimates that boilers and process heaters located at over two thousand pulp, paper, and wood plants will be impacted by the mandate. Depending on the fuel type, the impact of the rule could result, in simply testing and notifications, or as extensively as the addition of new emission control equipment, such as electrostatic precipitators and scrubbers. Additionally, Boiler MACT has the potential to justify the cost of replacing old and inefficient units along with the requisite control equipment.

Prior to the Boiler MACT, the EPA required forest products companies to reduce high volume low concentration (hvlc) pollutants from sources within pulp mills. That round of compliance, which is currently in the implementation, engineering, and construction stage, is set to cost the industry more than $250 million by the 2006 deadline.

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