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March 1st, 2013:

EPA Revised Standards for C&I Solid Waste Incineration Units – Legal Analysis

11 February 2013

ByBen Messenger

EPA Revised Standards for C&I Solid Waste Incineration Units - Legal Analysis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued final changes to Clean Air Act standards for major and area source boilers and commercial/industrial solid waste incinerators (CIWSIs).

According to Washington D.C. based law firm, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C), which specialises in representing the chemical industry, the final rule accomplishes two broad goals. It revises the Clean Air Act (CAA) emission limits for CISWIs, and it revises the definition under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of ‘nonhazardous secondary material’ (NHSM).

As to the CAA portion of the rule, the law firm explained that the EPA has revised certain emission limits under the CAA for CISWIs and other requirements for these units. The RCRA portion of the rule attempts to define clearly which nonhazardous wastes would be considered solid wastes when combusted.

According to the lawyers, the two portions of the rule work in tandem. When combusted, NHSMs that meet the definition of solid waste must be incinerated in CISWIs, while NHSMs that do not meet the definition of solid waste can be used as fuel in boilers (which are subject to less stringent standards under CAA).


The rule has been over a decade in the making. EPA first formerly declared (promulgated) standards for CISWIs in December 2000.

According to B&C, following a torturous eleven year path of litigation and rulemaking, in March 2011 the EPA promulgated final revisions to the CISWI standards, sparking a firestorm of opposition from stakeholders.

The law firm claimed that the EPA received over 50 petitions for reconsideration from industry, states, and environmental groups. Based on these petitions and EPA’s admission the March 2011 rule may have missed the mark, in May 2011 the agency postponed the effective dates of the March 2011 rule.

Then in December 2011, the EPA issued proposed revisions to the standards, which it believed reflected the additional comments and data it had received from stakeholders. The December 20, 2012, rule is EPA’s attempt to issue these revised standards in final.

The law firm explained that the controversy surrounding this rule is due in large part to its broad scope and estimated costs of compliance.

The EPA estimates that there are more than 1.5 million boilers and 106 CISWI units in the U.S. and that its March 2011 rule would impose annual costs of approximately $300 million.

However, according to B&C many industry stakeholders believed the rule would cost twice as much, if not more, and that the March 2011 standards would be virtually impossible to achieve.

Revisions to CISWI CAA Requirements

The lawyers said that the scope of the revisions continues to be broad and that the EPA defines a CISWI as:

A]ny distinct operating unit of any commercial or industrial facility that combusts, or has combusted in the preceding 6 months, any solid waste as that term is defined in 40 CFR part 241. If the operating unit burns materials other than traditional fuels as defined in §241.2 that have been discarded, and you do not keep and produce records as required by [40 C.F.R.] §60.2175(v), the operating unit is a CISWI unit. While not all CISWI units will include all of the following components, a CISWI unit includes, but is not limited to, the solid waste feed system, grate system, flue gas system, waste heat recovery equipment, if any, and bottom ash system. The CISWI unit does not include air pollution control equipment or the stack. The CISWI unit boundary starts at the solid waste hopper (if applicable) and extends through two areas: The combustion unit flue gas system, which ends immediately after the last combustion chamber or after the waste heat recovery equipment, if any; and the combustion unit bottom ash system, which ends at the truck loading station or similar equipment that transfers the ash to final disposal. The CISWI unit includes all ash handling systems connected to the bottom ash handling system.

According to the law firm the EPA believes that the revisions will ease the compliance burdens for owners and operators of CISWIs while continuing to improve protection of human health and the environment from emissions from these units. The agency estimates that the standards will avoid up to 8100 premature deaths, 5100 heart attacks, and 52,000 asthma attacks and that Americans will receive between $13 and $29 in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the final standards.

The lawyers said that the EPA appears to have narrowed the scope of the rule and to have issued standards that likely will be more amenable to affected industries.

The EPA also extended the compliance deadlines in the final rule. Owners or operators of existing major source boilers will have until 2016 to come into compliance with the standards, while owners or operators of area source boilers subject to the rule must meet the new standards by March 21, 2014. Existing CISWIs have until 2018 to meet the revised standards.

Revisions to NHSM Regulations

B&C said that the RCRA portion of the rule attempts to define more clearly what nonhazardous wastes would be considered solid wastes when burned. This is an important distinction.

When burned, NHSMs which meet the definition of solid waste would have to be burned in CISWIs that are subject to stringent regulation under CAA Section 129. NHSMs that do not meet the definition of solid waste could be burned as fuels in boilers, which are subject to less stringent standards under CAA Section 112.

In the final rule, the law firm said that the EPA revised the standards at 40 C.F.R. Part 241, which identifies those NHSMs that are considered solid wastes when used as fuels or ingredients in CISWIs. NHSMs – defined as a secondary material that, when discarded, would not be considered a RCRA hazardous waste – that are combusted are generally considered solid waste (and thus must be burned in CISWIs), unless an EPA Regional Administrator grants a non-waste determination petition.

Despite all of the controversy surrounding this portion of the rule, the lawyers said that the EPA made slight revisions, and the bulk of those address so-called ‘legitimacy criteria.’ Under the final rule, several categories of NHSMs are not considered solid waste when combusted. These are:

  • NHSMs that are used as a fuel in a combustion unit and that remain with the control of the generator and that meet specified legitimacy criteria
  • NHSMs used as an ingredient in a combustion unit and that meet specified legitimacy criteria
  • Fuel or ingredient products that are used in a combustion unit and that are produced from the processing of discarded NHSMs
  • Scrap tires that are not discarded and that are managed under the oversight of established tire collection programs.
  • Resinated wood
  • Coal refuse that has been recovered from legacy piles and processed in the same manner as currently generated coal refuse
  • Dewatered pulp and paper sludges that are not discarded and are generated and burned on-site by pulp and paper mills that burn a significant portion of such materials where such dewatered residuals are managed in a manner that preserves the meaningful heating value of the materials.

B&C added that the EPA also revised the definition of NHSM to ensure that materials that are traditional fuels are not considered solid waste. One of the more significant changes it made in the rule is to revise the definition of ‘clean cellulosic biomass.’

The law firm said that the EPA provides a list of clean cellulosic biomass materials that qualify as a traditional fuel (and not solid waste), described as materials that have not been altered, such that they contain contaminants at concentrations normally associated with virgin biomass materials. Specifically, the definition now reads as follows:

Clean cellulosic biomass means those residuals that are akin to traditional cellulosic biomass, including, but not limited to: agricultural and forest-derived biomass (e.g., green wood, forest thinnings, clean and unadulterated bark, sawdust, trim, tree harvesting residuals from logging and sawmill materials, hogged fuel, wood pellets, untreated wood pallets); urban wood (e.g., tree trimmings, stumps, and related forest-derived biomass from urban settings); corn stover and other biomass crops used specifically for the production of cellulosic biofuels (e.g., energy cane, other fast growing grasses, byproducts of ethanol natural fermentation processes); bagasse and other crop residues (e.g., peanut shells, vines, orchard trees, hulls, seeds, spent grains, cotton byproducts, corn and peanut production residues, rice milling and grain elevator operation residues); wood collected from forest fire clearance activities, trees and clean wood found in disaster debris, clean biomass from land clearing operations, and clean construction and demolition wood. These fuels are not secondary materials or solid wastes unless discarded. Clean biomass is biomass that does not contain contaminants at concentrations not normally associated with virgin biomass materials.

After years of dumping incinerator ashes, Pawtucket could be liable for big cleanup

After years of dumping incinerator ashes, Pawtucket could be liable for
big cleanup

Tests will show the extent of the problem

By ETHAN SHOREY, Valley Breeze Staff Writer

PAWTUCKET – For years, few gave much thought to the ash coming from the
old city incinerator. As was often the practice with such hazardous
materials, residue from the trash burned there was dumped at the nearest
convenient spot.

City officials of today fear that those past practices could mean that
the city is responsible for a major contamination cleanup on land near
the now-defunct incinerator off Mineral Spring Avenue. Experts they’ve
hired have warned that the problem there could be a big one.

The dumping site, on a back portion of the Lorraine Mills property at 560
Mineral Spring Ave., is owned by DIBCO LLC and 560 Mineral Spring Ave.
LLC. A mill complex on the front the property is home to artist studios,
a textile company, and a brewery, among other businesses.

The City Council Committee on Claims and Pending Suits voted behind
closed doors last week to spend $11,600 to hire a company to drill wells
and test core samples to determine exactly what went into the soil all
those years.

“We don’t know what else is there that wasn’t put there by the city, so
we feel it’s in our best interest to test the site to determine what is
our responsibility, if any,” said City Councilor Albert Vitali Jr.,
chairman of the claims committee.

City-based Sage Environmental is expected to complete the soil study,
according to Vitali.

Spending a few thousand taxpayer dollars now, presumably to remove any
culpability on the city’s part, could save hundreds of thousands of
dollars in court costs and “protect the taxpayer” down the road, said
Vitali. Members of the claims committee believe working with the owners
of the property to get it cleaned up is the best option available, he

Members of Mayor Don Grebien’s administration are in the process of
determining if the city compensated prior owners of the property in
exchange for being allowed to dump ash on it, according to Vitali.

“If so, our liability is minimal,” he said.

Grebien could not immediately be reached for comment this week.

City officials are conducting a title search to determine who owned the
property during the years the dumping was happening, said Vitali. The
property, located just up the road from the city’s waste transfer
facility, is used today for a number of industrial operations, he said.
The combined DIBCO/560 Mineral Spring properties are valued at $3.69
million, according to the city’s tax database.

The reason the contamination is becoming an issue now, said Vitali, is
that the owners of the property, in trying to refinance, were told by
bank officials that they would need to complete soil testing. To settle a
claim against the city, avoid a lawsuit, and eliminate the potential for
big hazardous waste cleanup costs down the road, city officials are now
paying for the testing, he said.

“We’re trying to cover all our bases,” said Vitali. “Rectifying the issue
is in both of our interests.”

It’s best to “spend a little” to avoid a big court battle, he added.

Hong Kong needs more double-tax deals, says industry

Submitted by admin on Mar 1st 2013, 12:00am



Keith Wallis

Agreements would help cut costs and improve city as a trade, financial and shipping centre

Hong Kong needs to sign more tax-friendly treaties, develop its logistics-related infrastructure and increase the promotion of its shipping and aviation sectors to lure more foreign companies, senior transport executives said yesterday.

Tung Chee-chen, the chairman and chief executive of Orient Overseas (International) Ltd, pinpointed double taxation agreements as being of key importance. He said more such comprehensive pacts would “reduce companies’ costs but also improve Hong Kong as a trade, financial and shipping centre”.

Hong Kong shipping firms estimated they had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year extra in tax because Hong Kong has only signed a handful of comprehensive double-tax deals.

China Navigation, a John Swire & Sons shipping subsidiary, moved to Singapore in December 2009 after 138 years in Hong Kong partly because of the tax it would save because Singapore had signed more double-tax treaties. The lack of tax deals also hurts Orient Overseas Container Line, OOIL’s shipping subsidiary.

Figures from the Inland Revenue Department show Hong Kong has signed comprehensive double-tax treaties with 20 jurisdictions, although six more are due to take effect in the 2013-14 tax year. Deals with seven other countries are pending.

By comparison, Singapore has signed comprehensive treaties with 69 countries, according to the city state’s Inland Revenue Authority.

Arthur Bowring, the managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association, said there were several industry-specific double-tax agreements applicable to shipping or aviation although comprehensive agreements were best.

What is needed is more of this kind of trump cards. Whether it is the third runway, logistics parks or more container terminals … we must make sure we don’t miss the opportunity

Tung said the government needed to “focus more of its efforts on negotiating more trade deals”.

“What is needed is more of this kind of trump cards,” he told about 150 people at an Ernst & Young-Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce lunch.

On other developments, Tung said: “Whether it is the third runway, logistics parks or more container terminals … we must make sure we don’t miss the opportunity.”

Tung backed construction of a 10th container terminal but said there were land-related issues to consider.

He said it was “not possible” to build a container terminal “paying the residential price for land”.

Tung said the importance of promoting the industry internationally should not be underestimated because “attracting large international companies to Hong Kong has a knock-on effect. The cluster effect plays a very important role … in capital growth and employment opportunities”.

Stanley Hui Hon-chung, the Airport Authority’s chief executive, supported Tung’s comments, saying that while Guangzhou airport was building a fifth runway, you “can’t stop people from becoming more competitive”.

Instead, Hong Kong should continue to enhance its facilities. This included the development of the Cathay Pacific cargo terminal, a midfield passenger terminal costing HK$10.2 billion, 28 additional aircraft parking stands and a third runway.


Double Taxation



Source URL (retrieved on Mar 1st 2013, 6:36pm):

A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong

Download (PDF, 3.05MB)

Advanced Thermal Treatment of Municipal Solid Waste

Download PDF : pb13888-thermal-treatment-waste