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The U.S. EPA has objected to several draft TCEQ Title V Operating Permits. Among the objections, EPA contends the TCEQ Federal Operating Permits lack enough information for the public or inspectors to monitor a plant's performance against the applicable regulatory requirements since the TCEQ permits reference rules instead of stipulating details. As such, the EPA wants to make the operating permits easier to monitor by specifically stating requirements for sources. Another hot topic related to EPA’s objections is incorporation by reference (IBR) of major and minor New Source Review (NSR) permits.

On June 10, 2010, the EPA issued a letter to the TCEQ regarding IBR stating the following:

  • The EPA never approved IBR for Major NSR permits. As such, the EPA is requiring that the TCEQ include emissions limitations and operational limitations in the Title V permit that ensure compliance with all requirements of a Major NSR permit.
  • The EPA has approved IBR for Minor NSR permits and Permit By Rules (PBRs). However, EPA wants to ensure that each referenced permit is available publicly and that the Title V permit clearly identifies how emissions limits apply to sources.

Additional objections beyond those noted above include the following:

  • Incorporation of Flexible Permits: The flexible permit program is not approved by EPA; therefore, EPA must object to the issuance of a Title V permit because the terms and conditions of the incorporated flexible permit cannot be determined to be in compliance with the applicable requirements of the Texas SIP.
  • Compliance Certifications: The Special Conditions of draft Title V permits state that the permit holder shall certify compliance with all terms and conditions. Per EPA, this Special Condition language does not meet the regulatory requirements of 40 CFR § 70.6(c)(5) and as such, the TCEQ must amend Special Conditions to include all the requirements for compliance certifications, as set forth in 40 CFR § 70.6(c)(5), including the identification of the methods or other means for determining the compliance status with each term and condition of the permit.
  • Exemptions: Permit conditions must define and provide regulatory citations referencing proper authority allowing TCEQ to grant special exemptions.

The list above includes only a few of EPA’s objections to the draft TCEQ Title V Permits. The specific objections vary from site to site. For details on specific objections for a site, the TCEQ has posted several of EPA’s objection letters and the TCEQ’s response letters at the below TCEQ website:

http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/permitting/air/announcements/tv_announce_05_27_10.html

In each objection letter, EPA notes that a revised permit meeting all of the objections must be submitted within 90 days of the objection letter or the EPA will issue or deny a Title V Operating Permit in accordance with 40 CFR Part 71. At this point, the EPA has taken over three Title V permits and requested Part 71 Permit applications since revised permits were not issued within the 90 day time period. Details on the EPA Part 71 letters can be found at the following website:

 http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/permitting/air/announcements/tv_announce_06_18_10.html

If you are a site that has received an objection letter from the EPA on a draft Title V Operating Permit,it is recommended that the site work with the TCEQ to address each objection within the EPA stipulated time period. Trinity Consultants can assist with responses and preparation of a revised Title V Operating Permit application. To contact Trinity for assistance, please contact Mr. Rob Liles at (972) 661-8100.