Selected Air Pollution Control Rule Changes in Wisconsin

On April 27 and May 24, 2011, the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) suspended certain rules including:

  • NR 404.04(3)
  • NR 406.04(3)(e) in part
  • NR 407.03(2)(d) in part
  • NR 411
  • NR 445.08(3)(c) in part and NR 445.08(6)(d) in part

The rationale behind these suspensions is described in more detail below:

Total Suspended Particulate (NR 404.04(3) - Particulate matter was originally measured as Total Suspended Particulate (TSP), which is particulate matter up to 100 micrometers in aerodynamic diameter. In 1987, the US EPA repealed the TSP National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), replacing it with more restrictive NAAQS for finer particulate with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 10 micrometers and 2.5 micrometers (PM10 and PM2.5, respectively). Historically, the WDNR considered repeal of the TSP standard in 1989 and 2008; however, the TSP standard was retained to address nuisance conditions. This spring, the WDNR decided to repeal the TSP standard to focus on particulate emissions which are known to more directly affect public health. The 24-hour secondary ambient air quality standard for TSP contained in NR 404.04(3) is currently suspended. The rule was approved and adopted by the Natural Resources Board on June 22, 2011. The July 31, 2011 Wisconsin Administrative Register includes a notice of the proposed rule change, which has been submitted to the legislature.

Permits for Indirect Sources (NR 411) - JCRAR suspended Chapter NR 411 - Construction and Operation Permits for Indirect Sources to shift the focus away from regulation of carbon monoxide (CO) to allow greater focus on emissions from diesel exhaust. Originally, NR 411 was established to help address CO emissions as a result of idling vehicles at large parking lots and distribution centers. Since promulgation, technological advances have helped significantly reduce CO emissions from vehicles. Recent studies indicate that diesel exhaust is a probable human carcinogen. The WDNR planned several revisions for this rule to redirect its efforts to provide adequate public health protection from diesel exhaust; however, the recent suspension has put a halt on these efforts.

Agricultural Waste (NR 406.04(3)(e), NR 407.03(2)(d), NR 445.08(3)(c), NR 445.08(6)(d) - JCRAR suspended sections of several rules related to toxic air emissions from animal agricultural waste. Before JCRAR's suspension in April and May, several rules contained language exempting the consideration of toxics from these sources until July 2011. The July 2011 date was established to coincide with air emissions monitoring studies of large livestock farms completed at the federal level. It is anticipated that the US EPA will need a few additional years to apply the results of the air emissions monitoring studies. Thus, the suspension has removed the July 2011 date, effectively exempting agricultural waste from state hazardous air emissions control requirements under NR 445 and eliminates consideration of these emissions when determining applicability to the permitting requirements of NR 406 and NR 407. The WDNR has formulated an Agricultural Waste Best Management Practices (BMPs) Advisory Group which has identified tangible outcomes for Wisconsin-specific BMPs. The WDNR anticipates these BMPs are the key to achieve emissions reductions from animal agricultural waste while the federal regulatory approaches are being developed.