In 2004, the EPA issued a final rule to substantially reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from industrial, commercial and institutional boilers. AHFA worked with the EPA and other stakeholders over several years to ensure that the rule, known as Boiler MACT, used a common-sense approach that exempted smaller, solid fuel, wood-fired boilers such as those used throughout most of our industry’s remaining domestic furniture factories.
These boilers combust a clean, renewable energy source (wood) that is a by-product of the manufacturing process. The emissions from these boilers pose no significant human health risk and have no significant impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, the rule was vacated by a District Court in 2007. A proposed new rule was released in 2010, but it lumped small, wood-fired boilers in with larger boilers to create a single category of emission sources for evaluation.
With AHFA’s constant attention over the last decade, revisions to the final rule dramatically cut the cost of implementation.
In January 2013, the EPA issued a final National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers. Among other things, the final rule reinstated the subcategory for dry wood biomass fuel. The revised rule clearly states that resonated wood is not a solid waste and can be burned for energy recovery purposes. It also nullifies any penalties for transferring those substances.
Without this concession, the boiler rule would have destroyed what remains of the domestic furniture manufacturing industry. It was, perhaps, the single most important regulatory victory in AHFA’s history.
The deadline for compliance was in 2016.
In 2014, the EPA also finalized revisions to the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule –another important victory for AHFA and the furniture industry. Although the rule was challenged by both environmental and industry stakeholders, it was upheld in the U.S. Court of Appeals. The June 2015 court ruling marked the end of a long, arduous lobbying effort by AHFA on behalf of manufacturers who still operate industrial boilers.