On October 10, 2016, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) submitted a draft State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision for public notice to address a "SIP call," issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to satisfy the state's obligation under sections 110(a)(2)(A) of the Clean Air Act (the Act).
On May 22, 2015, the EPA determined that Minnesota was one of 36 states with a SIP that contained conditions related to emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, or malfunction (SSM) that conflicted with the Act. Minnesota's SIP currently contains a provision, Minnesota Administrative Rules (Minn. R.) 7011.1415, which allows an automatic exemption from petroleum refinery performance standards for flares burning process upset gas when the flares are caused by SSM. In order to comply with the Act, Minnesota is required to remove the exemption contained in Minn. R. 7011.1415 no later than November 22, 2016.
Minnesota plans to repeal Minn. R. 7011.1415, eliminating the exemption from petroleum refinery performance standards for flares burning process upset gas the flares are caused by SSM. The rule repeal is expected to be effective no later than December 2016.
On February 29, 2016, the MPCA announced their intention to adopt various air quality rule revisions in their "Omnibus" rulemaking. One of the proposed rule changes was this proposed change to remove Minn. R. 7011.1415. Comments submitted in response to the proposed Omnibus rulemaking regarding this change suggested the MPCA simply incorporate by reference the recently issued NSPS Subpart Ja, which addresses non-normal emissions, such as refinery flares. Referencing NSPS Subpart Ja is consistent with EPA's SSM guidance, because it establishes standards that are intended to apply at all times (e.g. NSPS Ja applies at all times). It's yet to be seen if the MPCA will address these comments in the Omnibus rulemaking, but they have not incorporated them into this proposed SIP revision.
The MPCA will consider changing the contents of the proposed SIP revision based on comments received during the comment period. Following the end of the comment period, the Commissioner will decide whether to submit the proposed SIP revision to the EPA.
If you have any questions about the proposed SIP revisions please contact Alex Odom at (651) 275-9900 x7.