The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), which represents the state authorities that manage air pollution in all fifty states, released a report today that debunks a widely circulated but highly misleading industry study on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed toxic air emission standards for industrial boilers. NACAA’s report demonstrates that the claims of job loss and economic harm in the industry report—which was sponsored by the Council of Industrial Boilers Owners (CIBO)—are based on distortions and omissions.
Among other things, the NACAA report shows that industry’s analysis:
- Completely ignored the significant benefits to public health that will come from reducing industrial boilers’ toxic emissions, including fewer premature deaths, heart attacks, emergency room visits, and asthma attacks, as well as the financial savings that come from these improvements to health.
- Incorrectly assumed that one-time purchases of emission control equipment would have to be made every year.
- Disregarded entirely the tens of thousands of new jobs that would be generated to install, operate, and maintain pollution controls.
The NACAA report comes just as the EPA seeks to upend a court order that requires the agency to issue toxic air emission standards for industrial boilers by January 16, 2011. The Clean Air Act required the EPA to issue these requirements more than ten years ago, by November 15, 2000, and the agency has been under a court order to do so since 2005. Further delay places the lives of thousands of Americans at risk. The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Jim Pew:
“The EPA has indicated that the boilers operated by paper mills, chemical plants, and other major industrial polluters emit large amounts of mercury, lead, dioxins, particulate matter, acid gases, and other dangerous air pollutants. These pollutants cause cancer, birth defects, and other catastrophic harm. The agency’s own estimates show that reductions in fine particulate matter pollution from industrial boilers alone could save nearly 5,000 lives every year, as well as prevent 3,000 heart attacks, 3,200 hospital and emergency visits, and 250,000 days of missed work.
“If the EPA leaves the toxic emissions of industrial boilers uncontrolled for another year or more, its own data show that the delay will cost lives and inflict sickness and suffering on communities across America. And now NACAA’s report shows the industry groups that have pushed the agency for this delay have been relying on false scare tactics: claims about costs and jobs losses that are patently false. That the EPA would risk so many Americans’ lives and health to placate these industry groups is deeply distressing. We hope that the EPA will remember that its mission is to protect public health and the environment, not the profits of big polluters and their beltway lobbyists.”
The NACAA study is available here.