In a November 1, 2010 letter to the TCEQ, EPA stated its position that Permit Alterations under 30 TAC § 116.116 are not an appropriate mechanism to create SIP-approved permits from non SIP-approved Flexible Permits. TCEQ had previously presented this as a possible option for holders of Flexible Permits in Texas to obtain SIP-approved permits.
The EPA believes the alteration process as inappropriate for the following reasons:
Creating a SIP-approved permit from a non SIP-approved permit does not meet the narrow definition of an "alteration".
Substantive changes, such as increases in actual emissions, must be made through an appropriate SIP-approved mechanism for each emission point, not through an alteration.
Flexible permit holders will need to re-establish unit-specific monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting. Establishing these requirements does not meet the definition of an "alteration".
EPA concluded that the transition from flexible permits to a SIP-approved permit will require careful analysis of permitting and operational history, and must allow opportunity for review and comment by EPA and the public. The alteration process does not provide this level of review. Should a site with a Flexible Permit utilize the permit alteration process to obtain a SIP-approved permit, EPA will consider Title V tools or other authorities to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act.
For more information. see the latest correspondence between EPA and TCEQ on Texas Air Permitting: