November 2, 2010

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines

Proposed Rule
Summary

Score: 33 / 60

Additional details
Agency
Environmental Protection Agency
Regulatory Identification Number
2060-AP36
Agency Name
Environmental Protection Agency
Rule Publication Date
03/05/2009
Comment Closing Date
05/04/2009

RULE SUMMARY

EPA is proposing national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) for existing stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines that either are located at area sources of hazardous air pollutant emissions or that have a site rating of less than or equal to 500 brake horsepower and are located at major sources of hazardous air pollutant emissions. In addition, EPA is proposing national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for existing stationary compression ignition engines greater than 500 brake horsepower that are located at major sources, based on a new review of these engines following the first RICE NESHAP rulemaking in 2004. In addition, EPA is proposing to amend the previously promulgated regulations regarding operation of stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction.

METHODOLOGY

There are twelve criteria within our evaluation within three broad categories: Openness, Analysis and Use. For each criterion, the evaluators assign a score ranging from 0 (no useful content) to 5 (comprehensive analysis with potential best practices). Thus, each analysis has the opportunity to earn between 0 and 60 points.

Criterion Score

Openness

1. How easily were the RIA , the proposed rule, and any supplementary materials found online?
The rule and RIA can be found on regulations.gov (RIN and keyword search), through search on agency website. The rule does not have a direct link to the RIA though.
4/5
2. How verifiable are the data used in the analysis?
The data are based on extensive and complex data sets developed by EPA over the last few years for fine particlate matter National Ambient Air Quality Regulations (NAAQS) and are difficult to verify, although links and citations are abundant. In particular, the data on maximum achievable control technology (MACT) and its costs are difficult to verify.
4/5
3. How verifiable are the models and assumptions used in the analysis?
The benefit estimation models are almost impossible to verify but EPA has gone through a long process to justify the ones chosen. It uses CO as a marker for other HAPs.
3/5
4. Was the analysis comprehensible to an informed layperson?
The results are clear but the analysis uses many acronyms and jargon. The analysis is not easily understood by laymen or economist without combustion engine and EPA knowledge. However, many charts and diagrams do aid understanding somewhat.
3/5

Analysis

5. How well does the analysis identify the desired outcomes and demonstrate that the regulation will achieve them?
4/5
Does the analysis clearly identify ultimate outcomes that affect citizens’ quality of life?
The analysis estimates the improvement in health outcomes that are expected to result from the reduction in HAPs.
5/5
Does the analysis identify how these outcomes are to be measured?
A reduction in emissions through engineering and management controls are to be measured by the emitters and inspected by EPA. These changes are expected to lead to the health improvements.
4/5
Does the analysis provide a coherent and testable theory showing how the regulation will produce the desired outcomes?
EPA is using well known theories that unfortunately are difficult to test to estimate the health improvements.
3/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
There are peered reviewed epidemiologic studies to support the risk assessment models used, but biological evidence is lacking to show the health impacts of fine particulate matter. Benefit transfer approaches are used to estimate the health impacts of other HAPs.
4/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the outcomes?
The analysis candidly discusses the uncertainties of the expected health improvements.
4/5
6. How well does the analysis identify and demonstrate the existence of a market failure or other systemic problem the regulation is supposed to solve?
2/5
Does the analysis identify a market failure or other systemic problem?
EPA assumes a market failure and states it is acting to comply with the statute and judicial orders.
1/5
Does the analysis outline a coherent and testable theory that explains why the problem (associated with the outcome above) is systemic rather than anecdotal?
EPA relies heavily on the evidence it has developed in the past that fine particulate matter (a by-product of HAP regulation) is a systemic health problem.
3/5
Does the analysis present credible empirical support for the theory?
The analysis does present empirical support for fine particulate matter (PM) being a problem but does not provide strong evidence that this particular regulation for these particular sources will achieve PM-like national benefits.
3/5
Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the existence or size of the problem?
The analysis does not adequately assess the uncertainty of the assumption that localized PM and HAP emission reductions will have the same impact as PM reduction for major cities.
2/5
7. How well does the analysis assess the effectiveness of alternative approaches?
3/5
Does the analysis enumerate other alternatives to address the problem?
Numerous emissions categories are examined and some alternative control technologies are discussed for some of the categories.
3/5
Is the range of alternatives considered narrow (e.g., some exemptions to a regulation) or broad (e.g., performance-based regulation vs. command and control, market mechanisms, nonbinding guidance, information disclosure, addressing any government failures that caused the original problem)?
The agency used its data base of the lowest achievable emission levels to determine the MACT floors and what additional technologies might be used to exceed the floors. This is a fairly narrow set of alternatives.
2/5
Does the analysis evaluate how alternative approaches would affect the amount of the outcome achieved?
In several categories, the analysis conducted a cost-effectiveness calculation per benefit ton of PM for above the floor options.
3/5
Does the analysis adequately address the baseline? That is, what the state of the world is likely to be in the absence of federal intervention not just now but in the future?
The baseline was the state of the world when the data were collected and did not take into account how the baseline might change in the future (2013) when the regulation would go into effect.
2/5
8. How well does the analysis assess costs and benefits?
2/5
Does the analysis identify and quantify incremental costs of all alternatives considered?
In a few cases incremental cost ratios were calculated for more stringent emission levels beyond the MACT floor.
2/5
Does the analysis identify all expenditures likely to arise as a result of the regulation?
It does not calculate social costs or general equilibrium effects but does a thorough job of calculating direct compliance costs.
4/5
Does the analysis identify how the regulation would likely affect the prices of goods and services?
The RIA has a qualitative discussion and presents a nice market supply and demand curve diagram with and without regulation. It does not expect price impacts of over 1% of sales for most industries.
3/5
Does the analysis examine costs that stem from changes in human behavior as consumers and producers respond to the regulation?
Costs associated with changes in human behavior are briefly discussed but not estimated.
2/5
If costs are uncertain, does the analysis present a range of estimates and/or perform a sensitivity analysis?
It does not expect much (or any) uncertainty with respect to costs.
1/5
Does the analysis identify the alternative that maximizes net benefits?
Although benefits and costs are estimated, there appears to be no attempt to determine whether net benefits are maximized.
1/5
Does the analysis identify the cost-effectiveness of each alternative considered?
In a few cases incremental cost per ton of fine particulate matter reduced were calculated for more stringent emission levels beyond MACT, but it was not a thorough cost-effectiveness analysis.
3/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would bear costs and assess the incidence of costs?
There was some attempt to look at cost impacts by firm size to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, but it did not go beyond calculating direct compliance costs.
2/5
Does the analysis identify all parties who would receive benefits and assess the incidence of benefits?
By using a benefit transfer approach developed for the national NESHAP standard, EPA assumed the health benefits would be distributed the same as the national standard's benefits.
3/5

Use

9. Does the proposed rule or the RIA present evidence that the agency used the analysis?
The rule states that its analysis, despite the uncertainties, likely has benefits that exceed its costs but did not say that it used its analysis for any major decision-making. It does use technical analysis to determine MACT levels as directed by statute.
2/5
10. Did the agency maximize net benefits or explain why it chose another alternative?
There is little evidence that it maximized net benefits other than the fact that EPA estimated benefits that exceed costs.
2/5
11. Does the proposed rule establish measures and goals that can be used to track the regulation's results in the future?
EPA will track whether sources meet the emission limits but it does not appear that the agency will track whether these reductions will improve health outcomes as predicted.
2/5
12. Did the agency indicate what data it will use to assess the regulation's performance in the future and establish provisions for doing so?
The EPA does not discuss how it might assess the purpose of the regulation, which is to improve public health outcomes. It will have the data to track technical perfomance and MACT levels.
2/5
 
Total 33 / 60