Late last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a memorandum with an improved interpretation of post-project emissions under federal New Source Review Program (NSR). The estimation and management of post-project emissions under the federal NSR program has historically been a controversial item and the subject of permit conditions, law suits, enforcement actions, etc. The memorandum clarifies EPA's future plans with respect to these emissions. The key take-aways are as follows:

  • Facilities can employ voluntary plans to manage post-project emissions (e.g., controlling the number of operating hours, placing operational limits, etc.) to avoid triggering certain thresholds. These plans or measures would not necessarily be included as enforceable permit conditions in the facilities permit.
  • EPA will not "second-guess" the post-project emissions representations made in permit applications unless there are glaring errors. Even so, EPA intends to exercise its enforcement discretion in not prioritizing such actions.
  • Post-project emissions which are not related to the project will not automatically be assumed to be caused by the project and will be eligible for exclusion.

To review the memo, please click here. Additionally,  EPA has a few internal and external working groups reviewing and developing additional guidance and/or rulemaking associate with the federal NSR program. For example, one of these groups is looking at plantwide applicability limit (PAL) permits and unlocking the flexibility that they can provide if certain aspects of these permits can be fine-tuned or revised.