In 2007, EPA proposed to amend the “applicability” section of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAPs”) at 40 C.F.R. 63.1 to add the following new language:
(6) A major source may become an area source at any time by obtaining a permit limiting its potential to emit (PTE) hazardous air pollutants, as defined in this subpart, to below the major source thresholds established in 40 CFR 63.2, subject to the restrictions in paragraphs (c)(6)(i) through (iii) of this section. Until the permit containing the PTE limit becomes effective, the source remains subject to major source requirements. After the permit containing the PTE limit becomes effective, the source is subject to any applicable requirements for area sources.
(i) (A) The owner or operator of a major source subject to standards under this part that subsequently becomes an area source by limiting its PTE to below major source thresholds, and then later again becomes a major source by increasing its emissions to the major source thresholds or above, must comply immediately with the major source requirements of this part upon becoming a major source, notwithstanding § 63.6(c)(5), except as noted in paragraph (i)(B) below. Such major sources must comply with the notification requirements of § 63.9(b).
(B) If, as described in paragraph (i)(A), a source again becomes subject to the standard for major sources, that standard has been revised since the source was last subject to the standard and, in order to comply, the source must undergo a physical change, install additional controls and/or implement new control measures, the source will have up to the same amount of time to comply as the amount of time allowed for existing sources subject to the revised standard.
(ii) A major source that becomes an area source by limiting its PTE must meet all applicable area source requirements promulgated under this part immediately upon the effective date of the permit containing the PTE limits, provided the first substantive compliance date for the area source standard has passed, except that the permitting authority may grant additional time, up to 3 years, if the source must undergo physical changes or install additional control equipment in order for the source (or portion thereof) to comply with the applicable area source standard and the permitting authority determines that such additional time is warranted based on the record. A source seeking additional compliance time must submit a request to the permitting authority that identifies the amount of additional time requested for compliance and provides a detailed justification supporting the requested. Area sources not previously subject to area source standards must comply with the notification requirements of § 63.9(b).
(iii) Becoming an area source does not absolve a source subject to an enforcement action or investigation for major source violations or infractions from the consequences of any actions occurring when the source was major. Becoming a major source does not absolve a source subject to an enforcement action or investigation for area source violations or infractions from the consequences of any actions occurring when the source was an area source.
EPA also proposed to revise other provisions governing compliance with standards at maintenance requirements (40 C.F.R. 63.6), notification requirements (40 C.F.R. 63.9), and the general provisions applicability language in individual Subparts. See 72 Fed. Reg. 80 (Jan. 3, 2007).
Husch Blackwell will continue to monitor developments in EPA’s policy and evaluate potential opportunities to reduce regulatory burdens for its clients.
Husch Blackwell can help evaluate the potential benefits of this policy’s application to a company’s operations. For more information, please contact a member of Husch Blackwell’s Environmental team or visit our "Once In Always In" Guidance page.