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On Friday October 4, 2019, the NJDEP held their Quarterly Industrial Stakeholders/Air Permitting Group Meeting (ISG). A summary of the key items discussed is provided below.

NJ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) finalized its carbon dioxide (CO2) budget trading program, effective June 17, 2019 under N.J.A.C. 7:27C. The rule re-enters New Jersey in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and effectively mirrors the former DEP RGGI rule. Existing NJ budget sources (i.e facilities containing a fossil fuel-fired unit that, at any time on or after January 1, 2005, served or serves an electricity generator with a nameplate capacity equal to or greater than 25 MWe) must submit an application to NJDEP prior to January 1, 2020 to add the RGGI requirements into their permit and prepare to participate in the RGGI allowance auction process by setting up a trading account.

Compliance with RGGI is based on a three-year control period with CO2 emissions reconciliation and annual output reporting occurring each year on March 1 (for the previous year). Currently, the RGGI program is in the middle of its fourth control period (Jan 1, 2018 through Dec 31, 2020). The first reconciliation for New Jersey sites will be March 1, 2021 for interim CO2 emissions from 2020.

NJDEP is preparing a plan to assist companies with the RGGI monitoring submittal requirements. EDR forms will likely be sufficient for compliance (on a state level), however, NJDEP may also require sources to submit the forms directly to them.

Risk Assessment

Presentations on minor and major facility risk assessment procedures (including a flow chart) were discussed to provide clarification on the process of evaluating risk. Items of note include the following:

  • If modification of a minor facility triggers a first-level risk evaluation (for a particular HAP) that generates non-negligible risk, the facility must determine if other permitted sources at the facility have reportable emissions of the same contaminant. If so, all emissions of the specific contaminant (i.e., facility wide) are combined and evaluated through the worst-case stack on the risk assessment worksheet. Non-negligible risk for facility-wide emissions using the risk assessment worksheet would trigger facility-wide refined risk assessment (i.e., air dispersion modeling for all sources of the particular HAP). From an industry perspective, this appears to be the first time that the NJDEP has issued policy or guidance on facility-wide risk for minor facilities. The minor and major facility presentations from the ISG meeting are available on the NJDEP web site
  • Operating permit renewal risk assessment procedure remains unchanged, but the NJDEP has provided documentation of their facility-wide risk assessment practices or policy. For more information, reference the web link in previous section
  • New risk assessment worksheet is under management review, but is expected to be approved soon and released for use. There is continued concern over the disproportionate conservatism of this worksheet. All permit actions should evaluate risk using the current worksheet at the time of the modification/application submittal
  • A subgroup is forming to meet with Joel Leon, Greg John and Nicole Worland to discuss the pending first level risk screening worksheet conservatism, the impact that risk assessments will have (and currently do have) on industry permitting efforts, and the potential for development of second level risk screening tools to avoid time consuming and costly air dispersion modeling

Fee Changes

  • Annual emission fees will increase to $124.77/ton. This rate will be applied to the emissions reported in the 2019 annual emission statement, and payment is due by January 31, 2020
  • Air permit fees will increase by 7.9% effective January 1, 2020

PCP 96/97/98 Permits

NJDEP continues focusing on cleaning up old “paper permits.” Sources holding these permits may be contacted to update information within the NJDEP's systems (e.g., facility contact information, number of pieces of equipment in old permits, etc.). General permits may replace many of the items in these permits (and reduce permit fees). Grandfathered sources need to be reviewed by facilities to determine if there have been any changes. If changes were made, the source will be required to obtain a permit. The NJDEP indicated they are targeting grandfathered sources for enforcement activities.

Emission Statement Submittal Deadline

Beginning in 2020, the deadline for emission statements will be May 15, 2020 (consistent with regulation). No automatic extensions will be granted for submittal via the NJDEP Online portal; however, a facility may formally request a 30-day extension via a written request received by the Department prior to May 1. Due to the volume of emission point-related Question of Reasonableness on emission statements submitted in 2019, the DEP has issued RADIUS Emission Point Inventory Guidance.

Fumigation Operations

Two permits have been issued by the Department for fumigation sources that have requirements for stack heights, ventilation characteristics, and batch sizes to ensure negligible health risk. Trinity discussed the subject of fumigation operations, NJDEP's air quality focus on the subject and the applicability of the 50 lb/hr air permitting rule in past eNews messages. Affected sources should reach out to Trinity for further discussion on this topic and the recent issuance of fumigation air permits. At this time, the related fumigation air permitting regulations have yet to be proposed.

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Regulations

Proposed OCS regulations (NJAC 7:27-32, Outer Continental Shelf Air Rules) were published in the NJ register on November 4, 2019.

There are many changes occurring with respect to the air quality regulations and the way the NJDEP conducts business. Trinity is here to help you navigate these challenges. We can help strategize and develop an action plan for your facility in light of all of these recent changes (and especially those related to risk assessments and air dispersion modeling for minor and major facilities). Please contact Trinity Consultants New Jersey Office at (609) 318-5500 to discuss these changes and challenges.