In August 2011, EPA issued the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Rule which requires that by June 30, 2012, chemical manufacturers and companies that import chemicals report their 2011 calendar year use or production of all chemicals in excess of 25,000 pounds that are on the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Inventory. EPA is using the CDR to gather information on the manufacture, process and imports of chemicals on the TSCA Inventory. Non-chemical manufacturing facilities should determine if they imported chemicals in quantities exceeding the 25,000 pound threshold.
On April 16, 2012, Georgia EPD issued the final 2012 Industrial Storm Water NPDES General Permit. The new permit will be effective June 1, 2012. Facilities subject to the general permit are required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage under the new permit by July 1, 2012. The existing general permit remains in effect until June 1, 2012. Storm water pollution prevention plans (SWP3) must be updated by August 30, 2012. The permit includes several new sector-specific requirements, including additional benchmark monitoring.
On March 27, 2012, EPA issued proposed greenhouse gas (carbon emissions) standards for future power plants. Subject electric generating units (EGUs) include fossil‐fuel‐fired boilers, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) units and stationary combined cycle turbine units that generate electricity for sale and are larger than 25 megawatts.
On March 13, 2012, EPA issued a No Action Assurance Letter intended to provide relief to existing sources subject to the Boiler Area Source NESHAP (40 CFR 63 Subpart JJJJJJ). For existing sources that are required to conduct tune-ups, EPA is stating that it will exercise enforcement discretion for boilers that are not tuned-up by the March 21, 2012 compliance deadline. In the proposed reconsideration of the Area Source NESHAP, EPA has proposed to extend the due date to 2013. The No Action Assurance letter is effective until October 1, 2012 or the effective date of the reconsidered rule, whichever is earlier.
On March 12, 2012, EPA proposed a New Source Review (NSR) rule to clarify that condensable Particulate Matter (PM) must continue to be included in measurements of PM10 and PM2.5 (for NSR purposes). The measurement of total PM (which is typically used for New Source Performance Standard compliance) is not to include the measurement of condensable PM. EPA is stating that the 2008 PM2.5 implementation rule included an error that appeared to redefine “particulate matter emissions” (total PM) to include condensables.
Proposed Rule: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/documents/20120312proposal.pdf
On February 7, 2012, EPA issued the proposed implementation rule for the 2008 8-hr ozone NAAQS (75 ppb). Similar to previous ozone nonattainment area designations, EPA is setting five categories of NAA with corresponding compliance schedules and control measures.
Because the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the May 16, 2011 EPA stay of the effective dates for the March 2011 Boiler MACT and CISWI (Incinerator) NSPS, the initial notification from subject sources was due by September 2011. To clarify the confusion the vacatur would cause, U.S. EPA issued a “No Action Assurance” letter on February 7, 2012, which states that the agency will take no enforcement action on the initial notification requirements for the March 2011 Boiler MACT. Some facilities have decided to file initial notifications regardless of EPA’s assurance.
EPA will continue its current plans for finalizing the December 2011 proposed standards prior to the expiration of the “No Action Assurance” letter: December 31, 2012. When the December 2011 proposed standards are finalized, a new timeline for initial notifications will be established. So, from an EPA perspective, no initial notification for the March 2011 Boiler MACT is required in September 2012.
For PSD and Title V permitting, EPA is proposing to keep the same thresholds from Step 2 (PSD: 100,000 tons/yr CO2e for new sources, 75,000 tons/yr CO2e for modifications at major GHG sources; Title V: 100,000 tons/yr CO2e), primarily due to EPA’s determination that state permitting authorities do not have the infrastructure and expertise to apply GHG permitting requirements to smaller sources. So, at this time, smaller sources will not be subjected to GHG permitting requirements.
In addition to keeping the same thresholds, EPA is proposing two actions to streamline GHG permitting:
- Improve flexibility and usefulness of GHG Plantwide Applicability Limits (PALs).
- Where EPA is the permitting authority, add regulatory authority for EPA to issue Synthetic Minor limits for GHGs.
EPA is also soliciting comments on a variety of topics, including:
- Permitting activity and burden
- Permitting authority resources
- Impacts of lower GHG permitting thresholds
- Permit streamlining methods, including PTE calculations, general permits, and presumptive GHG BACT.
Comments will be accepted until April 20, 2012.
Proposed Rule: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-08/pdf/2012-5431.pdf
Subsequent to EPA finalizing the Utility MACT on December 21, 2011, the final rule (40 CFR 63 Subpart UUUUU) was published in the Federal Register. Revisions to New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) 40 CFR 60 Subparts D, Da, Db, and Dc, applicable to boilers, were also published. The Utility MACT applies to coal and oil-fired electric generating units (EGUs). The effective date is April 16, 2012, and the compliance date for existing EGUs is April 16, 2015.
In response to a challenge by Earthjustice (Sierra Club), on January 9, 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the May 16, 2011 EPA stay of the effective date of the Boiler MACT and CISWI NSPS final rules published on March 21, 2011. This means that the final Boiler MACT issued in March 2011 is in effect now. For existing major sources, the compliance date would be March 21, 2014. This is a year earlier than the expected existing source compliance date (mid to late 2015) for the upcoming revised rules, which EPA plans to finalize in 2012. New major sources must comply upon startup. The court is expected to rule again later in 2012 on the new versions of the rules. At that time, the revised version of the rule could supersede the March 2011 version, thereby establishing a later compliance date (2015).