Department of Commerce Challenges EPA’s Estimates of Economic Impact of Boiler MACT Rule


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: US Environmental Protection Agency Department of Commerce

Word has now leaked out about a study being conducted by the Department of Commerce which predicts significantly more job losses from the Boiler MACT rule than EPA’s analysis predicted. 

While the study has apparently still not been publically released, Commerce’s analysis is said to project job losses of 40,000-60,000 / year, along with a decline in the international competitiveness of US goods.  (By contrast, in its regulatory impact analysis accompanying the proposed rule, EPA stated that it wasn’t certain whether the rule would lead to job losses from facility closures and lower production , or to job gains from additional labor required for pollution control.  (estimates of either 8,000 jobs lost short-term, or between 6,000 jobs lost – 12,000 jobs gained over the long term.)

Interagency comments currently filed in the regulatory docket contend that EPA’s approach ignored caveats  in its analysis, and stated that the rule would have a negative impact on certain industries already facing decline.  The chemical industry was one such industry cited.  These comments also expressed concern that the RIA didn’t consider the impact the proposal would have on the rate of return on capital investments.  

Industry has argued that the projected job losses dwarf even the Commerce estimates (An analysis prepared for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) in August, for example, estimated that 338,000 jobs were potentially at risk.  Environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council were very critical of the CIBO-sponsored study.)

EPA is still expected to send the rule to OMB for interagency review on or by December 14 so that it can be published by the new court-ordered deadline of January 14, 2011.

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