Newly Proposed Regulations Ensure Either State or EPA Has Authority to Issue PSD Permits for GHGs

On August 12, 2010, EPA proposed two rules to ensure that facilities that will be affected by the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program for GHGs are able to obtain the appropriate permits.  These proposals are intended to "fill the gap" for any state or local area that cannot make the necessary changes to its permitting program by January 2011 to accommodate PSD permitting for GHGs.  Firstly, EPA proposed a "State Implementation Plan (SIP) Call," which requires states to revise their SIPs to ensure that their PSD programs cover GHG emissions.  In other words, the revised SIPs will provide states with the authority to issue PSD permits for GHG emissions.  States and local areas subject to the SIP Call in this proposal include the following:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona:  Pinal County and the rest of Arizona (excluding Maricopa County, Pima County and Indian Country)
  • Arkansas
  • California:  Sacramento Metropolitan AQMD
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky:  Jefferson County and the rest of Kentucky
  • Nebraska:  Lincoln Lancaster, Omaha, and the rest of Nebraska
  • Nevada:  Clark County
  • Oregon
  • Texas

EPA is working closely with agencies affected by the SIP Call to help them develop and submit necessary SIP revisions to enable the state to issue PSD permits to GHG-emitting sources under its jurisdiction. 

In the second rulemaking action, EPA proposed a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) that will give EPA authority to apply the PSD program to GHG-emitting sources in cases where a state is unable to submit a corrective SIP revision by the deadline.  In other words, if a state is unable to develop and submit the required SIP revisions by January 2, 2011, the FIP will apply in that area.  Consequently, if a source triggers PSD permitting for GHGs before the state's SIP revision is complete, EPA will issue the PSD permit under the authority of the FIP.  The FIP will continue to apply until the state's required SIP revision is complete.

According to EPA, without these proposals, industrial sources of GHGs in some states would not be able to begin construction as of January 2, 2011 (the earliest date that GHG permitting requirements become effective under the Tailoring Rule).  For each area identified by the SIP Call, these rulemaking actions indicate that, until the SIP for each area is revised to give the state or local agency authority to issue PSD permits for GHGs, EPA will have the authority to issue these permits.  Regardless of the SIP revision timing, the PSD permitting requirements for GHGs will apply based on the schedule established by the Tailoring Rule (Step 1 will begin January 2, 2011). 

EPA will accept comment on the SIP Call proposal for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register (publication in Federal Register expected shortly).  EPA has scheduled a hearing on the FIP proposal for August 25, 2010, and will accept comment on the FIP proposal for 30 days after that hearing.  Detailed information about these rulemakings is available at the following link under the "August 12, 2010" heading:  http://epa.gov/nsr/actions.html#aug10.  For information on how these developments affect your facility, contact your local Trinity office at (800) 229-6655.