On January 19, 2018, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) proposed to amend regulations codified in Title 26, Subtitle 11, Chapter 17 of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 26.11.17). MDE is proposing to allow interprecursor trading (IPT) for the ozone precursors, nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

IPT would allow the use of emission reduction credits (ERCs) for any ozone precursor, NOx and VOC, to be used to offset increased emissions of another ozone precursors at a specified ratio. Currently, new or modified major air emission sources of ozone precursors (NOx and VOC) must obtain ERCs to offset emission increases and the availability of the ERCs depends on the area's ozone non-attainment classification. VOC ERCs are currently not available in the Baltimore metropolitan 8-hour ozone nonattainment area and as such, companies are unable to construct new major sources of VOC or significantly modified existing major sources of VOC in that area. The proposed regulations would allow companies to offset increased VOC emissions by purchasing NOx ERCs which are available for the area.

This new regulation will be beneficial to all areas in the State of Maryland because all areas are either located in an ozone nonattainment area or in the Ozone Transport Region. Therefore, any facility subject to nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) requirements will be affected by this rule and will now be able use ITP for NOx and VOC (i.e., ozone precursors). MDE is proposing to allow the substitution of NOx ERCs for VOC ERCs (or vice versa) by submitting to MDE and EPA for written approval the following information:

  • A description of the air quality model(s) used to establish the appropriate ratio for the precursor substitution;
  • A proposed ratio for the precursor substitution and accompanying calculations; and
  • A technical demonstration substantiating that the ratio achieves an equivalent or greater air quality benefit for ozone in the nonattainment area than would be achieved without IPT.

Requests to utilize ITP will be made by MDE and EPA on a case-by-case basis.

The proposed regulation is currently out for public comment. The deadline to submit comments is February 20, 2018. In addition, MDE will be holding a public meeting on the proposed regulation at their offices in Baltimore on February 20, 2018. Once the regulation is finalized, it will be submitted to EPA for inclusion in Maryland's State Implementation Plan (SIP).

More information about ERCs, the existing regulation, and the proposed amendment of the regulation can be found here.

If you need assistance in determining how these changes would impact your facility or with preparing comments on the draft regulations, please contact Trinity's office in Frederick, Maryland at (240) 379-7490.