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EPA Proposes Step 3 of the GHG Tailoring Rule

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.

Fact Sheet:  http://www.epa.gov/nsr/ghgdocs/Step3FactSheet.pdf

Proposed Rule:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-08/pdf/2012-5431.pdf

Final Utility MACT Published in Federal Register

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.

Final Rule:  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-16/pdf/2012-806.pdf

Boiler MACT Back in Effect – D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects May 16, 2011 EPA Stay

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).

EPA Issues Proposed Boiler MACT, Area Source NESHAP, and CISWI Revisions

U.S. EPA has proposed a new version of the Boiler Major Source NESHAP (“Boiler MACT”) and amendments to the Boiler Area Source NESHAP, CISWI Incinerator NSPS, and Definition of Solid Waste. EPS is currently reviewing these standards to assess potential impacts on our affected clients. Upon publication in the Federal Register, EPA will accept comments for 60 days. EPA plans on finalizing these standards by Spring 2012.

Here are some of the initial highlights:

Area Source NESHAP

  • The current final rule remains in effect.
  • Mercury standards for coal-fired boilers are relaxed.
  • Particulate standards for biomass and oil-fired boilers unchanged.
  • The current deadline for existing source initial tune-ups (March 21, 2012) is proposed to be extended by one year.

Major Source NESHAP

  • Existing source compliance date would be 3 years after final rule publication.
  • Emissions limits changed from the previous MACT based on new subcategories and data collected in 2011.
  • Several emission limits are more stringent than the previous final MACT, while others are relaxed.
  • As an alternative to the PM limit, a total selected metals (TSM) limit is available for select subcategories.
  • The numerical dioxin emission limits are replaced by work practice standards.

Definition of Solid Waste

  • Definitions and legitimacy criteria are revised to clarify which non-hazardous secondary materials (NHSM) are non-waste fuels when burned.
  • The clean cellulosic biomass definition are expanded.
  • Categorical non-waste determinations are proposed for scrap tires and resinated wood.

The pre-publication versions of the rules are available here: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion/actions.html

Contact your EPS consultant or call (404) 315-9113 with questions regarding these standards.

EPA Announces Plans to Implement 2008 Ozone Standard

In a memo from Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy to regional air directors, EPA announced its intent to enforce and implement the 75 ppb ozone standard issued in 2008.  The implementation of the 2008 standard had been on hold while EPA reconsidered the standard.  The recent White House announcement of delaying the ozone reconsideration to 2013-2014 prompted EPA to revert back to the existing 2008 standard.

EPA is working on ozone nonattainment area designations based on the 2009 state recommendations, as well as updated air quality data.  Initial nonattainment area designations may be issued by mid-2012 but could be influenced by ongoing litigation.

EPA’s memo is available here: http://www.epa.gov/glo/pdfs/OzoneMemo9-22-11.pdf

A summary table of expected nonattainment areas is available here:  http://www.epa.gov/glo/pdfs/OzoneTable9-22-11.pdf

Key Compliance Dates for Boilers Approaching

The compliance dates are approaching for the rule applying to minor HAP sources that operate boilers – referred to as the Boiler Area Source NESHAP, 40 CFR 63 Subpart.

– September 17, 2011 for Initial Notification
– March 21, 2012 for work practices
– March 21, 2014 for energy assessments
– September 17, 2014 for initial emissions testing (if subject to an emissions standard)

The dates above are for existing boilers (constructed on or before June 4, 2010). New boilers (constructed after June 4, 2010) must comply upon startup and meet a shorter testing schedule.

Emissions Standards and Work Practices:
New biomass and oil-fired boilers and new and existing coal-fired boilers with a heat input capacity of 10 MMBtu/hr or greater are subject to emission limits and initial and triennial stack testing. New and existing coal, biomass, and oil-fired boilers are subject to biennial tune-ups to minimize carbon monoxide emissions. Facilities with existing boilers of 10 MMBtu/hr or greater burning coal, biomass, or oil must conduct a one-time energy assessment. Boilers equipped with air pollution control devices are also subject to operating limits.

Facilities with Fuel Oil Backup Need to Choose a Category:
Boilers that are gas-fired (natural gas and/or propane) are exempt from the Area Source NESHAP; no initial notification or other requirements apply. The rule allows boilers equipped with backup fuel oil to retain gas-fired status as long as the fuel oil is burned only for curtailment, supply emergencies, and periodic testing. Burning liquid fuels due to availability or cost considerations would void the exemption.

Boilers changing from gas-fired to oil-fired would become classified as a new oil-fired boiler, subject to emission limits, stack testing, tune-ups, and the energy assessment. Boilers classified as oil-fired as of the initial notification date may be considered an existing source, not subject to an emission limit, only required to conduct tune-ups and possibly an energy assessment. Facilities with the capability of electively burning fuel oil should consider how they want to be categorized prior to the September 17, 2011 initial notification due date.

Facilities that determine not to electively burn fuel oil (i.e., only burning fuel oil for curtailment, emergencies, or testing), should retain adequate records demonstrating their exemption status.

The effectiveness of the rule applying to major HAP sources, the Boiler MACT, continues to be postponed until the EPA reconsideration process is complete. However, the Boiler Area Source NESHAP remains effective.

For More Information:
The rule is available here:  http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/boiler/boilerpg.html