Oregon Environmental News
Jul 16 2015 - Portland, OR
Oct 6 2015 - Portland, OR
Oct 8 2015 - Portland, OR
Oregon Clean Fuels Program (CFP)
Sunday, March 01, 2015
In order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the use of transportation fuels in Oregon, the state’s Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) recently approved rules outlining the next phase of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program (CFP). The purpose of these rules, which went into effect on February 1, 2015, is to lower the carbon content of Oregon’s transportation fuels by 10 percent over a 10-year period. Oregon fuel producers and importers (i.e., owners of the fuel when it crosses into the state) will be required to reduce the average carbon intensity of fuels used in Oregon in order to meet annual standards. Specifically, importers and producers of gasoline, diesel, denatured ethanol fuel, and biodiesel are subject to this program. Carbon intensities for gasoline, diesel, and substitutes thereof during the 2015 calendar year will serve as the baseline for these required reductions.
The carbon intensity of a transportation fuel is based on its total carbon footprint, which includes indirect carbon emissions associated with the extraction and processing of the raw material, as well as direct carbon emissions generated by combusting the fuel in transportation vehicles. The CFP will facilitate the targeted carbon intensity reductions by establishing a system in which Oregon fuel producers and importers can incorporate lower-carbon fuels (biofuels, natural gas, biogas, propane, or electricity) into their fuel mix, or purchase clean fuel credits from providers of clean fuels. Accordingly, clean fuel providers will have the opportunity to generate and sell clean fuel credits for the fuels they provide in Oregon. The current CFP establishes a 10-year period (2015 to 2025) with carbon intensity levels set for each year. The annual reduction rate will increase with time, reaching a cumulative 10 percent reduction by 2025 relative to 2015 baseline levels.
Regulated parties, credit generators, and brokers must submit quarterly progress reports and annual compliance reports using the CFP reporting tool. During the 2015 calendar year, the CFP establishes the following timeline for implementation and reporting:
- Beginning February 1st: Importers should begin tracking fuel volumes.
- June 1st: The report for Quarter 1 (Q1) fuel transactions is due.
- By June 30th: The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) will reach out to Oregon companies that meet the definition of importer. All new importers will need to complete a registration process by June 30th.
- Beginning July 1st: Regulated parties should begin complying with new product transfer document and transfer-of-obligation requirements. Applicable transfer-of-obligation requirements depend on whether the recipient is a large importer (imports more than 250,000 gallons fuel per year), small importer (imports less than 250,000 gallons fuel per year), producer, or non-importer.
- August 31st: The report for Q2 fuel transactions is due.
- November 30th: The report for Q3 fuel transactions is due.
- By December 31st: ODEQ will reach out to Oregon providers of clean fuels that will have the opportunity to generate credits and update the CFP online system to track credit transactions. Credit generators that intend to provide clean fuels in 2016 and brokers should begin the registration process.
California is already implementing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and Washington has begun work on a similar program. In order to achieve consistency across the West Coast, Oregon’s CFP allows regulated parties to use the same fuel pathway codes and carbon intensity values in Oregon and in California. Furthermore, the CFP includes pre-approved Oregon-specific carbon intensity values for E10, B5, and propane.
Currently, Oregon’s CFP has a required sunset date of December 31, 2015. If the Oregon legislature removes the sunset date, then ODEQ will continue to implement the CFP beyond the 2015 calendar year; however, if the legislature does not remove the sunset date, then ODEQ cannot implement the CFP past December 31, 2015. Additional information for Oregon’s CFP is available at the following link.
If you have any questions about this program, please contact Maren Seibold at (253)867-5600 or via email.
Ozone NAAQS Revisions Proposed
Sunday, January 25, 2015
On November 25, 2014, the U.S. EPA proposed to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. The current primary ozone standard (finalized in 2008) is 75 ppb. Two new NAAQS for ozone have been proposed, a primary (health based) standard as well as a secondary (welfare based) standard, both proposed as 8-hour standards between 65 -70 ppb. EPA is also proposing and/or requesting comments on the following:
- Feasibility of even lower ozone standards including 60 ppb
- Proposed revision to the Air Quality Index (AQI)
- Possible revisions to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program to add a transitional provision to grandfather PSD projects
- Revisions to the O3 monitoring seasons for certain areas
The proposal was published in the Federal Register on December 17, 2014, and the public comment period ends March 17, 2015. EPA plans to hold public hearings on January 29, 2015 in Arlington, TX and Washington, DC and February 2, 2015 in Sacramento, CA.
At this time, EPA's timeline for making the associated air quality attainment designations is as follows:
- October 2015: The final rule for the Ozone standard will be promulgated
- October 2016: States will make attainment recommendations
- October 2017: EPA will make final attainment designations based on 2014-2016 monitoring data
Potential Implications of the Proposed Standard
The proposed standard is very stringent. EPA's data indicates that if the standard is finalized at 70 ppb, 358 counties nationwide would violate the standard (based on 2011-2013 monitoring data). Using the same data, if the standard is set at 65 ppb, an additional 200 counties would violate the standard. It is important to note that initial attainment designations will likely be based on 2014-2016 monitoring data. This map from the EPA website illustrates the areas that could potentially violate the standard based on 2011-2013 data.
Based on the 2011-2013 data, Alaska does not show any counties above the 65 ppb threshold, or even the lower 60 ppb threshold, which EPA has stated is within the scope of requested comments, but not within the range of the proposed NAAQS.
Because the revised standard is only proposed and because EPA is considering the grandfathering of projects that are in the pipeline, there is currently no known cut-off date for facilities that are submitting PSD applications. If EPA finalizes the rule and hundreds more areas become classified as nonattainment, major sources or major modifications in those jurisdictions will be required to go through the Non-Attainment New Source Review permitting process, rather than the PSD process. Due to the stringency of the proposed standards, facilities planning major capital projects may benefit from moving forward quickly.
Please contact Ashley Jones in our office at 253-867-5600 or via email with any questions.
DEQ Proposes Temporary Revisions to Address Supreme Court GHG Ruling
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
On November 12, 2014, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed temporary revisions to its air quality greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting rules to address the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on GHG permitting. Specifically, DEQ undertook this temporary rulemaking to address the June 23, 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which found that the Clean Air Act (CAA) neither compels nor permits EPA to adopt rules that require a facility to obtain a Title V or Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit solely based on its potential GHG emissions (i.e., “GHG-only permitting”).
Although the Court’s ruling took effect immediately on EPA’s federal regulations and delegated states’ permitting programs, because Oregon operates SIP-approved programs for Title V and PSD permitting, Oregon’s rules were not directly impacted by the Court’s decision. As such, Oregon’s permitting program continues to require any facility with potential GHG emissions of 100,000 tons per year or more to obtain a Title V permit. Likewise, any new facility with potential GHG emissions of 100,000 tons per year or more, and any existing facility that makes modifications that increase its GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tons per year and that has total GHG emissions of 100,000 tons per year or more after the modification, must still obtain a PSD permit. However, if approved by the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC), DEQ’s proposal will temporarily remove certain portions of Oregon’s GHG permitting requirements while DEQ determines how to permanently respond to the Court’s ruling. The temporary rules would be applicable for six months after the approval date, unless the changes are made permanent by a second rule adoption.
DEQ is currently in the process of evaluating public comments on permanent rule amendments that DEQ plans to present to the EQC for decision in 2015. According to DEQ, the temporary rules would prevent some facilities from spending thousands of dollars in 2014 to comply with Oregon’s current requirements, which may change when the EQC considers permanent rules in 2015. However, even if the EQC adopts the proposed temporary rules, Oregon’s air quality permitting program will still contain uncertainty with respect to GHG permitting requirements, as DEQ cannot predict the final outcome or timing of the 2015 rulemaking.
In general, applications must comply with the rules in effect when the application is submitted, and the permit must comply with the rules in effect when the permit is issued. Accordingly, if the rules change between the date the application is submitted and the date the permit is issued in a way that makes any part of an application unnecessary, then DEQ will ignore the unnecessary parts. On the other hand, if the rules change in a way that requires the permit to address additional requirements, then the applicant must submit the necessary additional information when the rules become effective. Consequently, if the EQC adopts the temporary rules but later decides to retain the current greenhouse gas permitting rules (or if the EQC allows the temporary rules to expire before adopting permanent rules to eliminate GHG-only permitting), then affected facilities would ultimately have to comply with the GHG-only permitting requirements and submit relevant application elements. In this case, the temporary rule would only delay the submittal of these application elements. On the other hand, if the EQC adopts the temporary rules and the 2015 permanent rules follow the Court’s decision, then GHG-only permitting will no longer be required in Oregon.
If you have any questions regarding DEQ’s temporary rulemaking and its impact on Title V and PSD permitting requirements, please contact Maren Seibold at (253) 867-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEQ Plans Rule Updates to Accommodate Supreme Court Decision on GHGs
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed temporary revisions to portions of its air quality regulations to accommodate the recent Supreme Court decision on greenhouse gases (GHGs). In a June 23, 2014 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated portions of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) GHG Tailoring Rule. Specifically, the Court found that EPA did not have the authority to rewrite unambiguous portions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to accommodate its policy goals.
This finding invalidates the federal “GHG-only” permitting triggers established by the Tailoring Rule for the Title V and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting programs. Although the Court affirmed EPA’s authority to regulate GHGs under the CAA, from a federal perspective, a facility must now trigger Title V or PSD permits for traditionally regulated air pollutants, in order to be subject to GHG-related requirements under these programs. EPA issued preliminary guidance in July 2014 to explain how it will accommodate this ruling for near term issues such as in-progress permits and State Implementation Plan (SIP) approvals.
States that have delegated status with respect to the Title V and PSD programs will be able to implement EPA’s preliminary guidance immediately. However, SIP-approved states such as Oregon must modify relevant portions of its regulations to incorporate this Supreme Court decision. Until such revisions are made, stationary sources in Oregon may still trigger “GHG-only” PSD and Title V permits.
In order to accommodate the Court’s decision, DEQ proposed temporary revisions to various portions of its air quality regulations. Specifically, DEQ’s proposal modifies Division 200 (General Air Pollution Procedures and Definitions), Division 216 (Air Contaminant Discharge Permits), and Division 224 (Major New Source Review) under Chapter 340 of the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR). This proposal is not subject to public comment, but will be reviewed for approval by the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC), which is scheduled to meet on November 5, 2014.
If approved, the temporary revisions will become effective for a period not exceeding six months. During that time period, DEQ plans to finalize a permanent rulemaking that will accommodate the Supreme Court decision. This rulemaking will be subject to public comment. Until the temporary rule is adopted, stationary sources may still trigger GHG-only Title V and PSD permits in Oregon. Likewise, if the EQC rejects or delays approval of the temporary rulemaking, or if the subsequent final rulemaking is delayed or rejected, then stationary sources may still trigger GHG permitting in Oregon.
For more information about this proposed rulemaking and its potential consequences for your facility, please contact Maren Seibold of Trinity Consultants at (253) 867-5600 or email@example.com.
Oregon Proposes Numerous Updates to Air Quality Regulations
Monday, June 30, 2014
On June 16, 2014, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proposed various updates to its air quality permitting rules and related emission standards. DEQ’s proposal will streamline, reorganize, and update the air quality permit rules, including the state’s Source Sampling Manual and Continuous Monitoring Manual. The proposed rulemaking package includes the following general regulatory updates:
- Change the statewide particulate matter (PM) emission standards and the preconstruction permitting program to assist Oregon with complying with EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine PM (PM2.5);
- Incorporate additional state air quality designations;
- Expand preconstruction permitting flexibility for small facilities;
- Allow DEQ to use technology such as teleconferencing for public meetings to improve community outreach; and
- Improve program implementation by proposing minor amendments to the woodstove replacement program (i.e., Heat Smart) and gasoline dispensing facility rules.
Among these proposed changes, the updated PM emission standards, adjusted permitting requirements for emergency generators and small oil and gas-fired combustion equipment, and new state air quality designations could potentially affect a large number of industrial sources in Oregon. As such, additional detail is provided for each of these updates:
- The current PM and opacity rules distinguish between units installed before and after 1970. Specifically, a pre-1970 unit is currently subject to limits of 0.2 grains per dry standard cubic foot (gr/dscf) and 40 percent opacity, whereas post-1970 units are subject to limits of 0.1 gr/dscf and 20 percent opacity. DEQ is proposing that the grain-loading requirement for all units (both pre- and post-1970) that are currently emitting less than 0.080 gr/dscf (based on a representative compliance source test conducted prior to the rule filing date) be reduced to 0.10 gr/dscf. Note the additional significant figure relative to the current grain-loading standard, which is included for consistency with federal guidance. For sources that are currently emitting more than 0.080 gr/dscf (based on a representative compliance source test conducted prior to the rule filing date), DEQ proposes a standard of 0.15 gr/dscf for pre-1970 units and a standard of 0.14 gr/dscf for post-1970 units. However, the grain-loading standard for equipment or modes of operation that are used less than 876 hours per year (i.e., less than 10 percent of the year) will remain at 0.20 gr/dscf. Furthermore, the proposed opacity standard for all sources will be reduced to 20 percent based on a six-minute block average, with the exceptions for wood-fired boilers. The proposal allows for a five-year transition period to comply with the revised standards. This transition period would end no later than January 1, 2020, but the proposal provides the option for a one-year extension, if necessary. As such, the current grain-loading and opacity standards will apply through the end of 2019, unless an extension is granted; however, new sources installed after this rulemaking takes effect will be subject to a grain-loading standard of 0.10 gr/dscf immediately upon startup. Additionally, the proposal provides an option for industrial facilities to request a source-specific limit, if boiler or multiclone optimization does not enable a source to meet the proposed standards by 2020. This provision ensures that the proposed rules will not require any sources to replace a boiler or convert fuel types to meet the proposed standards.
- The proposed rules remove emergency generators and small natural gas or oil-fired equipment from the list of categorically insignificant activities if either of the following apply: (1) The units are above size thresholds that make them subject to emission limits (e.g., under the new federal NESHAP standard for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE)) and (2) aggregate emissions from the units are greater than the state’s de minimis levels. If equipment at an industrial facility no longer qualifies as a categorically insignificant activity, then DEQ would add these sources to the facilities’ existing permits. If a facility has been relying on this insignificant designation to avoid permitting, then this proposed change may trigger permitting for these sources alone. For example, DEQ identified one business in Oregon that operates eight small boilers that qualify for the current insignificant designation based on the boilers’ individual rated capacities. However, when emissions from these boilers are added together, they total approximately 12 tons per year of NOx, which is well over the de minimis threshold for NOx of 1 ton per year. Consequently, this business will no longer qualify for the categorically insignificant exemption, and will need to obtain a permit for operating these boilers when the proposed rules are implemented.
- The proposed rules establish two new state air quality designations, “sustainment” and “reattainment.”
- The “sustainment” designation would apply to areas that are in danger of failing to meet at least one NAAQS, but for which EPA has not yet applied the nonattainment area designation. By establishing these areas as “sustainment”, DEQ’s goal is to provide communities more opportunity to avoid the nonattainment designation by working with DEQ to improve air quality. For example, DEQ would provide incentives to new or modified facilities to obtain emission offsets for problem pollutants.
- The “reattainment” designation would apply to a federally designated nonattainment area that is currently meeting all NAAQS, but for which EPA has not yet redesignated the area as attainment. By establishing these areas as “reattainment”, DEQ’s goal is to allow communities to discontinue costly elements of an attainment plan when those elements are no longer necessary to improve or protect air quality. For example, new and modified facilities within a “reattainment” area would be subject to less stringent air permitting requirements than are typical for nonattainment areas, unless DEQ has identified the facility as a significant contributor to air quality problems.
DEQ’s proposal contains numerous additional modifications to the air quality regulations. As such, it is recommended that Oregon sources review the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued on June 16, 2014 in detail to identify other areas that may impact the sources operations. DEQ requested that the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) approve the proposed rules for incorporation into Oregon’s State Implementation Plan (SIP). With EQC’s approval, DEQ would then submit the proposed rules to the EPA to be included in revisions to Oregon’s SIP, as required under the Clean Air Act. DEQ is currently requesting feedback on the ability of industrial sources to meet the new PM grain-loading and opacity standards, the stringency of Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) rules relative to comparable DEQ rules, and any alternative strategies to achieve the proposal’s goals. DEQ plans to hold a statewide public hearing on this proposed rulemaking package, which will be accessible to the public at locations in Portland, Bend, and Medford. DEQ will consider all oral and written comments received at the hearing, as well as all other comments received by the close of the public comment period on July 31, 2014 at 5:00 PM.
Please contact Maren Seibold of Trinity Consultants at (253)867-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this proposal or if you would like to discuss its potential implications on your facility’s operations.
Various Oregon Regulatory Updates:
Friday, January 24, 2014
DEQ Proposes Incorporation of Various Federal Standards. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently proposed to align Oregon rules with changes to federal air quality regulations. Specifically, DEQ’s proposal would adopt the following new federal standards:
- Area source National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for boilers, but only for sources required to have a Title V permit or Air Contaminant Discharge Permit (ACDP)
- Major and area source NESHAP for standards for stationary internal combustion engines, but only for sources required to have a Title V permit or ACDP
- Major source NESHAP for boilers and process heaters
- New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for stationary internal combustion engines, but only for sources required to have a Title V permit or ACDP
- NSPS for nitric acid plants
- NSPS for crude oil and natural gas production, transmission, and distribution
- Federal emission guidelines for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units
- Federal plan for hospital, medical, and infectious waste incinerators
This proposal also includes the adoption of amended federal NSPS and NESHAP standards for various source categories including electric utility steam generating units, chemical manufacturing, Portland cement manufacturing, and others. Sources in Oregon are already subject to these new and amended federal standards; therefore, DEQ’s proposal would change the responsibility for enforcement of these rules from EPA to DEQ. For those area sources not required to have a DEQ permit, EPA would retain responsibility for enforcement for the aforementioned standards.
DEQ Increases Air Contaminant Discharge Fees and GHG Reporting Fees. DEQ published a temporary rule to increase annual ACDP fees by 20 percent. The permit invoices issued by DEQ in October 2013 included this 20 percent increase. The permit fees are not adjusted annually for inflation and were last increased in 2007. Although the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting program is separate from the ACDP program, the GHG reporting fee is based on the ACDP fee. To avoid increasing the GHG reporting fee for permit holders as a result of this ACDP fee increase, the temporary rule also revises the GHG reporting fee from 15 percent to 12.5 percent of the ACDP fee. The temporary rule is set to expire on April 22, 2014. DEQ plans to propose permanent rules for adoption in 2014.
DEQ Amends and Adopts Regulations Regarding NAAQS and PSD Increments. DEQ recently adopted a rule to incorporate new and revised air quality standards into the state air quality regulations and the Oregon State Implementation Plan (SIP). Specifically, the rule incorporates the primary one-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for NO2, the primary one-hour NAAQS for SO2, the primary and secondary NAAQS for lead, as well as the new one-hour Significant Impact Levels (SILs) for NO2 and SO2 into the state regulations.
Proposed Rule Aligns Oregon Regulations with Federal Hazardous Chemical Reporting Requirements. In December 2013, the Department of State Police and the Office of State Fire Marshal published a proposed rule to align state regulations codified under OAR 837-085 with federal standards concerning hazardous chemical reporting codified under 40 CFR 370. Therefore, Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements for Oregon facilities will be consistent with federal requirements.
DEQ Increases Permit Fees for NPDES and WPCF Permits. DEQ recently adopted a rule to increase most water quality permitting fees by 2.9 percent. Specifically, permit application and annual fees will increase for most National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Water Pollution Control Facilities (WPCF) permits.
If you have any questions about how these proposed and adopted rules may impact environmental requirements for your facility, please contact Maren Seibold of Trinity Consultants at (253) 867-5600 or email@example.com.