Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions

EPA revises air permit policies

12 January 2009 – The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule under the New Source Review (NSR) program that revises the agency’s policy on aggregation.

For the purpose of determining whether NSR applies, a facility should group together, or aggregate, emissions from multiple related changes into a single project, only if those activities are substantially related, the EPA said. This rule directs facilities and permitting authorities to combine emissions from plant modifications only when those activities are substantially related.

The final rule also specifies that for emissions to be aggregated, changes must have more in common than timing alone or just supporting the plant’s overall basic function. Also, plant modifications separated by three or more years will be presumed unrelated.

The final rule establishes EPA policy prospectively and finalizes one of three parts of a September 2006 proposal. EPA said it is withdrawing the options for “debottlenecking” included in the proposed rule. It is also taking no action on a proposal that would enable emissions decreases to be factored into the first part of the test used to determine whether NSR applies to a facility making a change.

NSR is a preconstruction permitting program to ensure air quality is maintained when factories, industrial boilers and power plants are built or modified. The program is intended to ensure that state-of-the art emission control technology is installed at new plants or existing plants undergoing a major modification.