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EPA Reverses MACT Once-In-Always-In Policy

On January 25, 2018, EPA issued a guidance memo reversing its long-held policy that a major source of HAP must stay subject to MACT standards, even if it subsequently reduces its HAP emissions to minor (area) source levels (i.e., the “once-in-always-in” policy). Now, EPA is stating that HAP major sources can reduce their emissions to minor source levels and become area sources of HAP at any time – even after the relevant compliance date of a major source MACT standard.  This could enable several facilities to avoid applicability of major source MACT standards.

EPS is evaluating this development for applicability to our clients – identifying where regulatory burden may be eased due to this change in policy.

Who May Benefit from this Action?

If your facility has made HAP emissions reductions to meet a MACT standard or possibly other voluntary reductions and your actual emissions are below the 10 ton/yr individual HAP and 25 ton/yr total HAP major source thresholds, you may be able to apply for Synthetic Minor limits, become an area source, and then no longer be subject to the MACT standard.

This could provide relief from the onerous monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements of the MACT standards.

Also, if the MACT standard is the only reason your facility has a Title V permit, then you could possibly downgrade to a Synthetic Minor permit (or possibly True Minor permit). This would also reduce reporting burden, and in many cases, annual air emissions or air permit fee costs.

If you believe that your facility may be a candidate to benefit from this action, please contact your EPS consultant.

More Information:

Press Release:


Georgia DNR Board Adopts Amended Air Rules

Misc. Rules Update:

  • Updates VOC definition for exempt solvents;
  • Revises the ambient air standards to be consistent with the NAAQS;
  • Removes the definition of “Regulated NSR Pollutant” to defer back to the federal definition;
  • Adds NSPS XXX (new MSW landfills);
  • Adds fire pumps to the SIP permitting exemption;
  • Eliminates PM2.5 nonattainment area NSR provisions (since attainment designation was issued); and
  • Adds fire pumps to the Title V insignificant activities list.

Cotton Gin Rule Update:

CSAPR Update:

  • Eliminates references to CAIR;
  • Incorporates CSAPR by reference;
  • Includes state annual trading budgets, new unit set-asides, and variability limits.

For questions, please contact your EPS consultant.

EPA Proposes to Redesignate Ozone Nonattainment Areas

As published in the Federal Register on 08/27/2015, EPA is proposing to redesignate 36 Ozone Nonattainment Areas, including Atlanta.  Based on the 2012-2014 design value, EPA determined that Atlanta did not attain the 2008 ozone NAAQS by July 20, 2015, thereby triggering a “bump up” in nonattainment classification from marginal to moderate.  The new attainment date is July 20, 2018.  The proposed SIP submittal due date is January 1, 2017 or March 1, 2017 (comment solicited).  Several federal standards, including CSAPR, Tier 3 vehicle standards, and Boiler MACT, are expected to support attainment efforts.  However, state agencies could find that additional NOx or VOC control measures (RACT rules) are needed.  Georgia EPD has indicated that it intends to certify 2013-2015 ozone monitoring data in support of a request to redesignate to attainment.

Read More …

EPA Releases Revised Framework for Biogenic CO2 Accounting

On 11/19/14, EPA released a revised framework for assessing biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources.

  • For the Clean Power Plan, EPA expects to recognize biogenic CO2 emissions and climate poly benefits of waste-derived and certain forest-derived industrial byproduct feedstocks, support states’ efforts in using biomass power to met the CPP goals.  EPA also mentions that sustainably-derived agricultural and forest-derived feedstocks may also be an approvable element of CPP compliance plans.
  • For PSD, EPA plans rule revisions to exempt from BACT requirements waste-derived feedstocks and non-waste biogenic feedstocks derived from sustainable forest or agricultural practices.  This is based on EPA’s position that biogenic CO2 emissions are likely to have minimal or no net atmostpheric contributions of CO2 or even reduce such impacts when compared to an alternate fate of disposal.

Janet McCabe Memo:

EPA Framework Document:

EPA website:

Gas-Fired Boiler MACT Facility? Prepare… Now

The compliance date for the Boiler MACT is January 31, 2016, but facilities should be preparing now.  Facilities that are subject to emissions limits (solid fuel and liquid fuel boilers) are likely well under way in their compliance plans, including emissions and fuels testing and monitoring equipment installation.  But, facilities that only burn natural gas (with or without fuel oil for curtailment and testing) should also be preparing.  Much of the work to comply with the Boiler MACT will need to be completed in 2015; therefore, facilities may need to make budgetary plans this year to include:

  • Determine if elective fuel oil firing is a possibility in the future – natural gas costs may rise making fuel oil more attractive.  If facilities want this option, engineering stack testing and fuel testing should be conducted to assess compliance.
  • Identify a “qualified energy assessor” and obtain a quote for the one-time energy assessment.
  • Locate a contractor and obtain a quote to perform boiler and process heater tune-ups.
  • Re-check your process heater list to make sure you have not missed any subject units, ask “How is this process heated?  Indirect or direct-fired?”.

The Boiler MACT has been remanded back to EPA to address reconsideration of several aspects of the rule.  However, the rule has not been vacated, and there is no current indication that the compliance date will be changed (but that is a possibility).

Questions?  Contact your EPS consultant.

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