December 21, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following comment regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of the final Clean Air Act standards for industrial boilers – known as the boiler MACT rule.
“The changes in the final boiler MACT rule announced today by the EPA are an improvement over the original proposal, however, I continue to be concerned about the high costs of compliance and the potential impacts on our struggling economy,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski and her staff are still reviewing the full boiler MACT rule to evaluate the extent of the EPA’s modifications, particularly how they will impact the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which uses waste oil vapor from the pipeline to generate electricity and heat at the Valdez terminal.
Under the EPA’s original proposal, the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which runs the pipeline system, would have likely had to discontinue their innovative and environmentally friendly usage of recycled oil vapor and switch to a more expensive power source.
“Under the original proposal, Alyeska was looking at having to spend $50 million to comply – capital it could better invest in preventive maintenance to ensure the pipeline continues to operate safely in the face of declining throughput,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski has repeatedly raised with the EPA and the White House the potential impacts the rules could have on Alaska, given that the pipeline and the oil fields it serves are the biggest drivers of the state’s economy. In July, Murkowski wrote to President Obama (letter attached) requesting changes to the proposed rules to allow additional time and flexibility for compliance across the nation.
Murkowski said the changes made by the EPA today provide more time for compliance and some flexibility for Alyeska.
“While the final rules lessen the economic impacts on the pipeline, Alyeska’s use of an innovative system of recycling waste vapors from the line to generate both the heat and electricity needed to operate the Valdez terminal may still be at risk,” Murkowski said.