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California Environmental News

SJVAPCD Proposes Amendments to Rule 2201

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD, or the District) is proposing to amend District Rule 2201 (New and Modified Stationary Source Review Rule).  These proposed revisions are primarily in response to reclassification of the District from Moderate to Serious nonattainment for the 1997 and 2006 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5).  The District is also proposing two additional revisions to Rule 2201, unrelated to NAAQS attainment status change.

In order to comply with Federal requirements for Serious nonattainment areas, the District reviewed Rule 2201 requirements and identified necessary amendments.  First and foremost, the District is proposing to lower the PM2.5 Major Source Emission Threshold from 100 tons per year (200,000 lbs/year) to 70 tons per year (140,000 lbs/year).  Second, the District is proposing to revise the PM2.5 definition to clarify that PM2.5 includes the condensable portion of particulate matter.  This particular amendment is for clarification purposes only, and does not represent a change to current District practice or interpretation of what constitutes PM2.5.  Third, the District has concluded that no amendments are necessary to address federal requirements for PM2.5 precursors.  The District provided a demonstration that volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia are not significant PM2.5 precursors, and expects US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to concur on this matter.

The District is proposing two other amendments unrelated to the PM2.5 attainment status change noted above.  First, the District is proposing to remove the offset threshold for carbon monoxide (CO) in non-attainment areas because there are no CO non-attainment areas in the District.  Second, the District is proposing to make various revisions allowing for temporary replacement emission units (TREUs) that require an Authority to Construct (ATC) to be installed prior to obtaining an ATC.  This amendment would allow certain TREUs, such as equipment used during emergency breakdowns or malfunction situations, to be constructed or installed when needed, provided that the operator submits an ATC application within seven calendar days of construction or installation.  A similar application shield for permanent routine replacements already exists in Rule 2201.  During USEPA's recent preliminary review of the proposed amendments, questions were raised about whether the District's current application shield provisions for routine replacements are legal.  These concerns were discussed in the public workshop for the proposed Rule 2201 amendments held by the District on November 10, 2015.  The District is concerned that USEPA may push to remove the current application shield provisions for routine replacements.  The District is working with USEPA to demonstrate that the existing application shield for routine replacements, as well as the proposed application shield for TREUs, will not have a significant impact on air quality, and therefore demonstrate that these application shield provisions should be allowed.  However, if USEPA disagrees, the existing application shield provisions of Rule 2201 may be removed.

Written comments on the proposed amendments to Rule 2201 must be submitted to the District by December 1, 2015.  The final rule is scheduled to be adopted by the Governing Board on January 21, 2016.  Per USEPA requirements, Rule 2201 amendments to address the District's reclassification as a Serious PM2.5 nonattainment area must be submitted by May 7, 2016.

The redlined version of Rule 2201 and the SJVAPCD staff report concerning the proposed amendments can be found here and here.

California Air Resources Board - Refrigerant Management Program

Friday, October 23, 2015

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) implemented its Refrigerant Management Program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerant usage. This program affects facilities with large system refrigerant capacity and requires facilities with refrigeration systems holding more than 50 pounds of refrigerant to report leak inspections, repair leaks, and maintain records. Additionally, facilities with refrigeration systems holding 200 pounds or more must submit annual reports by March 1st of each year and register immediately using the ARB R3 tool. The annual report must include refrigeration system service, leak repair, and refrigerant purchase information. Facilities with small refrigeration systems between 50-200 pounds must register using the R3 tool by March 1, 2016. Facility and refrigeration system information are required for registration.

For more information regarding compliance with this program, please contact Trinity at (949) 567-9880 or click here.

South Coast Air Quality Management District - Proposed Amendments to Regulation XX

Friday, October 23, 2015

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) held a public consultation meeting on September 29, 2015 to discuss proposed amendments to Regulation XX, Regional Clean Air Incentives Market (RECLAIM). The rule updates are anticipated to reduce NOx emissions to help the South Coast area meet federal and state air quality standards.

Regulation XX includes provisions to regulate NOx emissions from facilities through the implementation of RECLAIM, which is a market-based incentive program that regulates sources of NOx and SOx that exceed 4 tons per year. For applicable facilities, RECLAIM allows regulated sources to buy and sell emission credits (referred to as "RTCs") for compliance purposes. For the past year, the SCAQMD has been studying the feasibility of reducing the permitted RTC allocations for regulated RECLAIM NOx facilities. This NOx reduction (or "shave") is based largely on Best Available Retrofit Control Technology (BARCT) feasibility analysis from refineries and similar large sources. Based on the latest public consultation meeting, the SCAQMD is proposing to reduce NOx emissions by 14 tons per day by 2022. The NOx shave will be phased in over several years starting with 4 tons per day in 2016. It is estimated that RTC allocations for refineries and investors will be shaved by 66%, while non-refineries and power plants will be shaved 47%. However, RECLAIM facilities that are not among the top 90% of RTC holders will not be shaved. The RTC holding freeze date has been chosen to be September 22, 2015.

The public hearing for the proposed amendments to this rule is schedules for November 6, 2015. For more information regarding compliance with this rule, please contact Trinity at (949) 567-9880 or click here.

USEPA Proposes Limited Approval and Disapproval of the Bay Area AQMD's Revisions to New Source Review Regulation

Friday, September 25, 2015

On August 28, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed a limited approval and limited disapproval of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's (BAAQMD) proposed amendments to the New Source Review (NSR) Rules, Regulation 2 Rules 1 and 2. The proposed changes to Regulation 2, Rules 1 and 2, were a portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted on April 22, 2013. For the most part, the submitted NSR Rules satisfy requirements, and have been partially approved by the USEPA. However, the USEPA found deficiencies with requirements related to Minor NSR, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), and Nonattainment NSR. BAAQMD has 18 months to two years to remedy the deficiencies, resubmit revisions and have these approved by the USEPA, or USEPA will be obligated to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan. Key highlights from BAAQMD's 2013 submittal along with USEPA's findings have been outlined below:

  • Minor NSR Requirements:
    • Overall strengthening of BAAQMD's minor NSR program including, but not limited to, (1) new provisions for public notification and comment for minor NSR projects that result in a significant net emission increase, (2) new and revised provisions clarifying what new and modified sources are exempt from obtaining an ATC permit.
    • Key deficiencies: Rule 2-2-308, as proposed, was found to be insufficient in prohibiting the BAAQMD from issuing an Authority to Construct (ATC) for minor modifications causing National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) violations. Furthermore, the rule submittal for minor NSR requirements did not contain sufficient prohibition for BAAQMD's issuance of an ATC pursuant to the control strategy requirements of 40 CFR 51.160(a).
    • PSD Requirements: USEPA found that the proposed rules satisfy most of the statutory and regulatory requirements for PSD permit programs. However, four deficiencies were identified by the USEPA.

(1) Rule 2-1-234.2, as proposed, incorporates by reference substantive requirements of the PSD applicability procedures for determining if a project will result in a major modification by incorrectly referencing 40 CFR 51.166(a)(7). This was found to be deficient since this citation contains instructions to the State and not requirements for an applicant seeking a PSD permit.
(2) The definition of a PSD pollutant, as proposed in Rule 2-2-223, was found to be deficient in that it excludes pollutants that are designated as "Non-Attainment" for a California or NAAQ Standard. This conflicts with the federal definition, which includes all NAAQS pollutants, regardless of attainment status.
(3) The air quality analysis requirements as proposed in Rule 2-2-305.3, only requires the BAAQMD Air Pollution Control Officer's approval for modified or substituted air quality models in situations where the model specified in 40 CFR Part 51 Appendix W (Guideline for Air Quality Models) is found to be inappropriate. Pursuant to 40 CFR 51 Appendix W, the USEPA Administrator's approval is also required.
(4) The fugitive emission calculation procedure as proposed in Rule 2-2-611 was found to be inadequate because it excludes stationary source categories which, as of August 7, 1980, are regulated under section 111 and 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) from fugitive emission calculations for PSD as well as NNSR permitting purposes.

  • NNSR Requirements:
    • Overall strengthening of the NNSR program including, but not limited to (1) incorporation of new District requirements such as BACT (equivalent to federal Lowest Achievable Emission Rate [LAER]), and offsets, (2) new requirements for Class I areas (3) specific calculation procedures to determine if a project will result in a major modification.
    • Key deficiencies:

(1) Language in Rule 2-1-234.2 for nonattainment pollutants, as proposed, was found to incorrectly incorporate by reference applicability procedures in 40 CFR 51.165(a)(2).
(2) Rule 2-2-401.4, as proposed, does not adequately require visibility analysis for all sources that may have an impact on Class I Federal Areas.
(3) Rule 2-2-411.2 pertaining to offset refunds, as proposed, does not provide an appropriate time frame for NSR applicants to be eligible for offset refunds in situations where excess offsets were provided at the time of permit issuance.
(4) Rule 2-2-412 as proposed does not provide a remedy if the BAAQMD fails to demonstrate NOx and POC offset program equivalence.
(5) Rules 2-2-605.2 and 2-2-606.2 were found to be deficient because they allow existing "fully offset" sources to generate emission reduction credits (ERCs) and/or calculate emission increases based on the difference between post-modification Potential to Emit (PTE) and the adjusted pre-modification PTE. Instead, ERCs as well as emission increases must be based upon the pre-modification "actual emissions", and the post-modification PTE.

Cap-and-Trade August 2015 Joint-Auction Results Released

Friday, September 25, 2015

On August 25, 2015, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the results of its third joint auction for greenhouse gas (GHG) allowances between ARB and Québec's Ministry of Sustainable Development. The joint auction was held on August 18, 2015, which sold 2015 and 2018 vintage allowances available for use in both jurisdictions. Based on published auction results, all 73,429,360 metric tons of 2015 allowances were sold at a settlement price of $12.52 per metric ton, which was a 23 cent increase from the prior joint auction held in May 2015.  In addition, all 10,431,500 vintage 2018 allowances that were sold at a settlement price of $12.30 per metric ton, which was a 20 cent increase from the May 2015 joint auction. The next joint auction is planned for November 17, 2015. The auction notice is available on the ARB Cap-and-Trade website.

SCAQMD – Proposed Amendments to Rule 1113

Friday, September 25, 2015

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) held a public workshop on August 26, 2015 to discuss proposed amendments to Rule 1113, Architectural Coatings. The rule updates are anticipated to further reduce Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions to help the South Coast area meet federal and state air quality standards.

Rule 1113 reduces VOC emissions from architectural coatings through product limitations, testing, and recordkeeping. Proposed changes include restrictions on the small container exemption for flat coatings, non-flat coatings, rust preventative coatings, and industrial maintenance coatings. The proposed rule will include additional coating categories with VOC limits and reduce VOC limits for current coating categories. New test methods for VOC content, building envelope coatings, and tub and tile refinishing coatings will also be added to the rule.