A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee today introduced legislation that directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop “achievable standards” for industrial boilers and incinerators and grants more time for the development of and compliance with those rules.

The EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (H.R. 2250) was sponsored by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), together with Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Mike Ross (D-Ark.), and Steve Scalise (R-La.).

The bill has a “simple” goal, the sponsoring House members said in a statement: “We are giving EPA the time it needs—the time it has requested— to address difficult technical issues and develop rules that are workable in the real world.” The lawmakers also said that as currently proposed, economic analyses have shown that compliance with the rules—finalized on March 21, and which would require boilers and incinerators across the U.S. to install “maximum achievable control technology”—could cost in excess of $14 billion and put more than 200,000 jobs at risk.

“EPA estimates compliance with its boiler and incinerator rules will impose $5.8 billion in up-front capital costs, and the four rules collectively will impose new costs of more than $2.2 billion annually,” they claimed.

The EPA had published the proposed rules in June 2010, and in December, after receiving more than 4,800 comments, the EPA asked a federal court for an additional 15 months to re-propose the rules and solicit more public comment. When the court denied the EPA’s request, the agency was forced to issue the rules. The EPA said it would “reconsider” certain aspects of the rules, however, because the public had not had sufficient time to comment. The EPA has also issued a temporary administrative stay of the effective date of two of the rules.

The bill proposed today is expected, among other things, to provide the EPA with at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize the new rules for boilers, process heaters, and incinerators, and extend compliance deadlines from three to at least five years to allow facilities adequate time to comply with the standards and install necessary equipment.

The bill will also direct the EPA, when developing the new rules, to “adopt definitions that allow sources to use a wide range of alternative fuels,” and to ensure that the new rules are “achievable by real-world boilers.” The rules should also “impose the least burdensome regulatory alternatives consistent with the President’s Executive Order 13563,” the lawmakers said.

Sources: POWERnews, House Energy and Commerce Committee