The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) published a final rule in the Federal Register (81 FR 71613) that became effective on November 17, 2016, revising the public notice provisions for the New Source Review (NSR) and Title V permit programs. The final rule removed the mandatory requirement to provide public notice of certain draft air permits through publication in a newspaper.
As an example, the federal rule under §51.165(i) was amended to allow the reviewing authority to post the information for the duration of the public comment period on a public website identified by the reviewing authority or in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the source is located.
Now the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is taking action to update several rules in Title 326 of the Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) to allow for publication as an e-notice in lieu of publication in the newspaper. The first notice of IDEM's intent to update the permit review rules to exercise this option was published on September 9, 2017. IDEM is accepting comments on this first notice of rulemaking until October 6, 2017.
One of the rules that will be affected is 326 IAC 2-1.1-6. Paragraph (a)(1)(B) currently states, "Publish a notice requesting comment on the proposed permit or permit revision approval or denial in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the source or emissions unit is located." Trinity expects the second notice of rulemaking to include language for paragraph (B) that mirrors the federal rule.
The biggest impact that Indiana businesses may see is a reduction in permitting approval time for projects that require public notice. The permitting timeline for some approvals could be reduced in some areas by a full week or more. Some local newspapers only publish notices once per week; therefore, if the printing deadline is missed, the current rules prevent the public notice period from beginning until the following week when the notice is in print.