EPA Asking States to Revise Clean Air Act Permit Programs

07:53AM Aug 16, 2010
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EPA is proposing to require that more than a dozen states revise their Clean Air Act permitting programs to include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so they will be able to implement the agency's first-time GHG permitting requirements starting in January, Inside EPA reports.

The agency proposed two rules Aug. 12 that aim to provide a "backstop" to ensure implementation of EPA's tailoring rule, which sets GHG permit limits beginning Jan. 2. Combined, the proposed rules would allow the agency to temporarily take over GHG permitting in states that fail to revise their permitting programs, and force states to make the necessary revisions.

EPA says 13 states would be subject to its so-called state implementation plan (SIP) call, under which the agency would declare delegated federal permitting programs in those states found to be inadequate to address GHG permit requirements. The rule would require those states to submit a letter to federal headquarters outlining the status of their GHG permitting authorities and "information that documents why their programs cannot cover GHG emissions," EPA says. Agencies would then be required to revise their SIPs – air quality blueprints that detail how states intend to comply with EPA air rules – to ensure that their Clean Air Act prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permitting programs cover GHG emissions. States would have to complete the revisions and win EPA approval before the tailoring rule takes effect.

If states fail to revise their SIPs before the tailoring rule takes effect, the agency's second proposed rule would impose a federal implementation plan (FIP) in those states that would ensure GHG permitting, administered by EPA. "The FIP would assure that PSD permitting for GHGs can continue until the state's required SIP revision is complete," according to an agency fact sheet.

States and local areas that would be subject to the rule include: Texas; Alaska; parts of Arizona; Arkansas; the Sacramento metropolitan region in California; Connecticut; Florida; Idaho; Kansas; Kentucky; Nebraska; Clark County, Nevada; and Oregon.

Texas has already told EPA it will not take any legal, regulatory or other steps to impose GHG permitting requirements on stationary sources in the state. But an agency official recently said that EPA is confident it will win a pending legal challenge over its tailoring rule and is urging Texas to work with the agency to resolve its concerns over the rule.

Source: Texas Cattle Feeders Association