EPA rejects industry bid for major air toxics exemption

Source: By Sean Reilly, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

As a result, power plants, compressor stations and other industries that rely on turbines will have to keep meeting national emission standards for formaldehyde and other hazardous pollutants.

Emissions rise from a smokestack next to a bright sun.

Emissions rise from the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the sun sets Sept. 18, 2021, near Emmett, Kansas. Charlie Riedel/AP

Five years ago, a coalition of business trade groups asked EPA to take the almost unprecedented step of exempting an entire industrial pollution source from federal air toxics regulations.

This month, EPA said no.

As grounds for denying the petition to “delist” stationary combustion turbines, agency officials said the coalition — made up of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and five other groups — left out key information and failed to make the case that the long-term cancer risk posed by turbines’ exhaust was too low to warrant oversight.

As a result, power plants, compressor stations and other industries that rely on turbines will have to keep meeting national emission standards for formaldehyde and other hazardous pollutants, according to an EPA news release Monday. “EPA is committed to ensuring every community has clean air to breathe, especially those that have been overburdened and disproportionately impacted by poor air quality for too long.” Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.