In a letter, 51 members of Congress asked EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to reconsider air emission requirements the Agency proposed in November 2011 for ferroalloys production. According to the letter, finalization of the requirements as proposed will likely result in closure of the last two manganese ferroalloy plants in the U.S. with no commensurate public health benefit.
“Plant closures will impact over 450 high wage manufacturing jobs, mostly among members of the United Steel Workers Union, with dramatic negative impacts on the struggling communities of Marietta, Ohio and Letart, West Virginia,” say the lawmakers.
EPA proposed to amend its 1999 national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for the ferroalloys production category, using its authority under the CAA, which requires that the Agency address any residual risks to human health and the environment eight years after issuance of a NESHAP. The CAA also requires that EPA review new technological developments and incorporate revisions into the NESHAP as appropriate.
Following its residual risk review, the Agency said that fugitive emissions of manganese, arsenic, chromium, and nickel from the two facilities were posing an unacceptable level of risk to nearby residents. The technology review found that control of fugitive emissions was inadequate and that actual stack emissions were “substantially lower” than the limits established in 1999.
The proposal would require that the facilities enclose building roof vents with duct work that will route fugitive emissions of metal air toxics by emissions through a control device. EPA also proposed to strengthen emission limits for particulate matter for the two sources.
The letter from Congress questions the strength of EPA’s residual risk review, stating that EPA relied on an “outdated” science assessment issued in 1993 and neglected recent peer-reviewed scientific information. The letter also indicated that EPA is proposing to require that the facilities install technologies that “may not be appropriate or effective as applied to ferroalloys production facilities.”
EPA is “strongly urged” by the letter writers to:
- Ensure that any determinations on standards addressing residual risk are based on the best available scientific and technical information.
- Work with stakeholders, including the manganese ferroalloy producers, to identify feasible technologies to achieve protections in a way that also protects jobs and the economy.
The letter also encourages EPA consider seeking an extension of the court-mandated June 2012 deadline for promulgating a final rule.
The letter to EPA is at http://billjohnson.house.gov/UploadedFiles/4-30-12_Congressional_Letter_to_EPA_on_Proposed_Manganese_Rule.pdf.