The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not revise greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting thresholds under the Clean Air Act, says the Washington, D.C.-based government organization. The final rule announced on July 3 is part of what the agency calls its common-sense, phased-in approach to GHG permitting under the Clean Air Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not revise greenhouse gas
(GHG) permitting thresholds under the Clean Air Act, says the Washington,
D.C.-based government organization.
The final rule announced on July 3 is part of what the
agency calls its common-sense, phased-in approach to GHG permitting under the
Clean Air Act, announced in 2010 and recently upheld by the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
According to the EPA, the final rule maintains a focus
on the largest emitters, which account for nearly 70 percent of the total GHG
pollution from stationary sources, while shielding smaller emitters from
permitting requirements. EPA is also finalizing a provision that allows
companies to set plant-wide emissions limits for GHGs, streamlining the
permitting process, increasing flexibilities and reducing permitting burdens on
state and local authorities and large industrial emitters.
After consulting with the states and evaluating the
phase-in process, EPA believes that current conditions do not suggest that EPA
should lower the permitting thresholds. Therefore, EPA will not include
additional, smaller sources in the permitting program at this time.
The July 3 final rule affirmed that new facilities with
GHG emissions of at least 100,000 tons per year (tpy) carbon dioxide equivalent
(CO2e) will continue to be required to obtain Prevention of Significant
Deterioration (PSD) permits. Existing facilities that emit 100,000 tpy of CO2e
and make changes increasing the GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy of CO2e,
must also obtain PSD permits. Facilities that must obtain a PSD permit, to
include other regulated pollutants, must also address GHG emission increases of
75,000 tpy or more of CO2e. New and existing sources with GHG emissions above
100,000 tpy CO2e must also obtain operating permits.
EPA’s GHG permitting program follows the same Clean Air
Act process that states and industry have followed for decades to help ensure
that new or modified facilities are meeting requirements to protect air quality
and public health from harmful pollutants. As of May 21, 2012, EPA and state
permitting authorities have issued 44 PSD permits addressing GHG emissions.
These permits have required new facilities, and existing facilities that make
major modifications, to implement energy efficiency measures to reduce their
The GHG Tailoring Rule will continue to address a group
of six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane
(CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O),
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
The PSD permitting program protects air quality and allows economic growth by
requiring facilities that trigger PSD to limit GHG emissions in a cost
effective way. An operating permit lists all of a facility’s Clean Air Act
emissions control requirements and ensures adequate monitoring, recordkeeping
and reporting. The operating permit program allows an opportunity for public
involvement and to improve compliance.
EPA Greenhouse Gas Permitting Requirements Maintain Focus on Largest Emitters
July 3, 2012