The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is kicking off 2013 by revisiting various clean air standards based upon input by stakeholders and in compliance with settlement agreements. But the Sierra Club claims some of these changes favor polluters.
Yesterday the agency revised standards to reduce air pollution from stationary engines that generate electricity and power equipment at industrial, agricultural, oil and gas production, power generation and other facilities. The amendments also specify how the standards apply to emergency engines used for emergency demand response.
Earlier this month, the EPA adjusted the Clear Air Act standards for large boilers.
The final revised rule for stationary engines will reduce the capital and annual costs of the original 2010 rules by $287 million and $139 million, respectively, while reducing harmful pollutants, including 2,800 tons per year (tpy) of hazardous air pollutants; 36,000 tpy of carbon monoxide; 2,800 tpy of particulate matter; 9,600 tpy of nitrogen oxides, and 36,000 tpy of volatile organic compounds, according to the EPA.
The final amendments to the 2010 “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines” reflect new technical information submitted by stakeholders after the 2010 standards were issued. EPA estimates annual health benefits of the updated standards to be worth $830 million to $2.1 billion.
But the Sierra Club is crying foul and says the rule allows diesel-based electricity generators to expand their hours of operation without installing serious protections to clean up dangerous environmental toxins. The Sierra Club cites the EPA’s own statement that pollution from diesel generators is known to cause, or contribute to, a myriad of dangerous health conditions including: cardiovascular disease, aggravation of respiratory conditions, premature death in people who suffer from heart and lung disease, and it is suspected of causing cancer.