WASHINGTON, DC - Since Boiler MACT and Non Hazardous Secondary Material rules were first proposed, Congressman Mike Michaud has been working to convince the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to amend regulations that could adversely impact Maine's biomass and paper industries. Today, the Obama Administration responded to Michaud's requests by clarifying that biomass is categorized as a fuel and not solid waste, which will ensure that this renewable resource continues to be viable fuel for the paper industry. As a result, this action will help paper companies and other impacted industries avoid cost increases and the need to turn to fossil fuels.
The move by the Administration today responded to a number of concerns raised by Michaud over the months in addition to a letter he wrote on October 5th requesting regulatory relief.
"This change is welcome news for the environment and the economy," said Michaud. "The Administration recognized that their one size-fits-all regulatory approach was flawed and they've now correcting it. This will help ensure that Maine's paper companies don't face increased fuel costs and continue to use this renewable source of energy for their operations. It will also ensure that federal regulations don't unnecessarily stifle the adoption of renewable biomass, which has been an economic boon for our state over the last few years. This regulatory fix has a direct impact on jobs and our economy in Maine, and I appreciate Administration's expeditious action."
Michaud is a cosponsor of the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act" (H.R. 2250), which would accomplish what the Administration announced today as well as realistically set emission standards for biomass boilers and provide facilities a reasonable time to comply with them. H.R. 2250 passed the House on October 13th.
"Today's announcement is an important step forward," said Michaud. "However, the larger issue of how the emissions of biomass boilers are regulated must still be addressed. With Senate action on a legislative fix uncertain, the fastest way to improve this regulation would be to address it administratively. I'm hopeful another administrative fix will be issued in the coming weeks."