4 The record articles

33 Late Air Toxics Rules… Where Are We Now?

Posted: July 31st, 2018

Authors: Kristin G. 
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Every eight years, U.S. EPA is required to conduct a Risk and Technology Review (RTR) for individual 40 CFR Part 63 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).  The NESHAP are also commonly referred to as either Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards or simply U.S. EPA’s air toxics rules.

If you are a regular reader of ALL4’s Blog and 4 The Record publications, then you understand U.S. EPA is currently under various court orders to complete RTRs for 33 overdue air toxics rules.  It’s been more than a year since we posted at length on this topic.  Do you recall which rules are specifically overdue?  What decisions were made in the various court cases?  How can those decisions affect your facility?  We’ll answer these questions and more so that you can be proactive throughout U.S. EPA’s RTR process.

The 33 overdue air toxics rules have been the subject of two separate court cases: California Communities Against Toxics, et al, vs. Scott Pruitt (CCAT) and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, et al, vs. Scott Pruitt (Blue Ridge).  Let’s dig into the status of each of these standards in the context of the two court cases.

The 20 standards that were the subject of the CCAT court case are as follows:

  • Solvent Extraction for Vegetable Oil Production (GGGG)
  • Boat Manufacturing (VVVV)
  • Surface Coating of Metal Coil (SSSS)
  • Cellulose Products Manufacturing (UUUU)
  • Ethylene Production (YY)
  • Paper and Other Web Coating (JJJJ)
  • Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (AAAA)
  • Hydrochloric Acid Production (NNNNN)
  • Reinforced Plastic Composites Production (WWWW)
  • Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing (LLLLL)
  • Integrated Iron and Steel Manufacturing Facilities (FFFFF)
  • Engine Test Cells/Stands (PPPPP)
  • Site Remediation (GGGGG)
  • Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing (FFFF)
  • Surface Coating of Metal Cans (KKKK)
  • Surface Coating of Miscellaneous Metal Parts and Products (MMMM)
  • Organic Liquids Distribution (Non-Gasoline) (EEEE)
  • Stationary Combustion Turbines (YYYY)
  • Surface Coating of Plastic Parts and Products (PPPP)
  • Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light-Duty Trucks (IIII)

Pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), the 20 standards listed above had been originally required to be updated via the RTR rulemaking process no later than eight years after prior promulgation (i.e., between 2009 and 2012).  However, in a March 13, 2017 court decision, Judge Tonya Chutkan ordered “completion of all 20 source category RTRs within three years,” or by March 13, 2020.  Since the court decision was issued, we have noted various activity by U.S. EPA concerning 11 of the 20 CCAT source categories.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart VVVV (Boat Manufacturing)

During November 2017, U.S. EPA released a draft RTR modeling file for Subpart VVVV.  (Note: RTR modeling files contain risk modeling data that U.S. EPA develops during Risk Reviews.  Risk modeling data can be reviewed and commented upon by affected facilities during the RTR process.)

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart WWWW (Reinforced Plastic Composites Production)

During November 2017, U.S. EPA released a draft RTR modeling file for Subpart WWWW.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart LLLLL (Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing)

During January 2018, U.S. EPA released Subpart LLLLL human exposure model (HEM) input files for Actual and Allowable EmissionsAcute EmissionsHEM user receptors, and HEM Source ID Crosswalk.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart JJJJ (Paper and Other Web Coating)

During February 2018, U.S. EPA released an initial RTR modeling file followed by a May 2018 release of a Part 2 RTR modeling file.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart YYYY (Stationary Combustion Turbines)

During February 2018, U.S. EPA released a Risk Modeling File.  During March 2018, U.S. EPA released an updated list of the facilities and turbines subject to Subpart YYYY.

40 CFR Part 63, Subparts IIII, KKKK, MMMM, PPPP, and SSSS,  (Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light-Duty Trucks; Metal Cans; Miscellaneous Metal Parts and Products; Plastic Parts and Products; and Metal Coil, respectively)

During April 2018, U.S. EPA presented about the status of the various Surface Coating NESHAP RTRs to the National Coil Coating Association.  During the presentation, U.S. EPA shared that full-scale modeling has been completed using HEM 3 AERMOD modeling software, and that U.S. EPA is currently collaborating with the following associations for the five source categories subject to the March 2020 deadline for purposes of conducting a Risk Analysis:

  • Metal Coil – National Coil Coating Association
  • Metal Can – Can Manufacturing Institute
  • Auto and Light Duty Truck – Auto Industry Forum

During the presentation, U.S. EPA also shared what existing, new, and emerging technologies would be reviewed during their Technology Review.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart AAAA (Municipal Solid Waste Landfills)

During May 2018, U.S. EPA released a draft RTR modeling file.

Separately, 13 additional overdue air toxics standards were the subject of the Blue Ridge court case, as follows:

  • Leather Finishing Operations (TTTT)
  • Wet-Formed Fiberglass Mat Production (HHHH)
  • Rubber Tire Manufacturing (XXXX)
  • Surface Coating of Large Appliances (NNNN)
  • Friction Materials Manufacturing Facilities (QQQQQ)
  • Surface Coating of Metal Furniture (RRRR)
  • Surface Coating of Wood Building Products (QQQQ)
  • Printing, Coating, and Dyeing of Fabrics and Other Textiles (OOOO)
  • Taconite Iron Ore Processing (RRRRR)
  • Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing (HHHHH)
  • Lime Manufacturing Plants (AAAAA)
  • Iron and Steel Foundries (EEEEE)
  • Plywood and Composite Wood Products (DDDD)

These MACT Standards were last promulgated in the 2002 to 2004 range and were due to be updated via the RTR rulemaking process between 2010 and 2012.

In a March 22, 2017 court decision, Judge Christopher Cooper ordered that seven RTRs from the Blue Ridge case be completed by December 31, 2018 and the remaining six RTRs be completed by June 30, 2020.  According to U.S. EPA’s RTR website, RTRs for the Blue Ridge standards will be grouped and completed by the following dates:

  • RTRs to be completed by December 31, 2018
    • Leather Finishing Operations (TTTT)
    • Wet-Formed Fiberglass Mat Production (HHHH)
    • Surface Coating of Wood Building Products (QQQQ)
    • Friction Materials Manufacturing Facilities (QQQQQ)
    • Printing, Coating, and Dyeing of Fabrics and Other Textiles (OOOO)
    • Surface Coating of Large Appliances (NNNN)
    • Surface Coating of Metal Furniture (RRRR)
  • RTRs to be completed by June 30, 2020
    • Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing (HHHHH)
    • Taconite Iron Ore Processing (RRRRR)
    • Iron and Steel Foundries (EEEEE)
    • Plywood and Composite Wood Products (DDDD)
    • Lime Manufacturing Plants (AAAAA)
    • Rubber Tire Manufacturing (XXXX)

Since the March 22, 2017 court decision was issued, we’ve observed various activity by U.S. EPA concerning each of the seven Blue Ridge source categories subject to the December 31, 2018 deadline but no recent activity concerning the remaining six Blue Ridge source categories subject to the later June 30, 2020 deadline.  Recent activity has been as follows:

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart DDDD (Plywood and Composite Wood Products)

On October 5, 2017 U.S. EPA issued an Information Collection Request (ICR) to a long list of facilities in the Plywood and Composite Wood Products (PCWP) industry, requesting facility-level emissions and equipment configuration information, compliance data, control information, and descriptions of technological innovations.  The completed ICRs will support U.S. EPA’s risk modeling, technology review, and estimation of regulatory impacts.  Facility responses were due back to U.S. EPA by February 9, 2018.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart HHHH (Wet-Formed Fiberglass Mat Production)

On March 19, 2018 U.S. EPA proposed amendments to the rule.  As a result of the RTR, U.S. EPA proposed to revise the startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) requirements, require electronic reporting, change the compliance report submittal requirement to semi-annually, and reduce requirements for binder formulation that does not contain HAP.  On April 6, 2018 the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register.  Comments on the proposed rule were accepted through May 21, 2018.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart QQQQ (Surface Coating of Wood Building Products)

During March 2018, U.S. EPA released a Subpart QQQQ Risk Modeling File Review Tool with associated instructions.  On April 23, 2018, U.S. EPA published proposed amendments to the rule.  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on May 16, 2018.  The May 2018 amendments (if finalized as proposed) would add an alternative compliance demonstration equation, amend provisions addressing periods of SSM, amend provisions regarding electronic reporting, add a new U.S. EPA test method to measure isocyanate compounds in certain surface coatings, and make other technical and editorial changes.   Comments on the proposed rule were accepted through June 15, 2018.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart TTTT (Leather Finishing Operations)

During March 2018, U.S. EPA released a Subpart TTTT Risk Modeling File Review Tool.  On March 14, 2018, U.S. EPA also published proposed amendments to Subpart TTTT pertaining to emissions during periods of SSM; proposed amendments to add electronic reporting; and proposed amendments to clarify certain rule requirements and provisions.  Comments were initially accepted through April 30, 2018, but later extended through June 14, 2018.

40 CFR Part 63, Subparts NNNN, OOOO, and RRRR (Surface Coating of Large Appliances; Printing, Coating, and Dyeing of Fabrics and Other Textiles; and Surface Coating of Metal Furniture, respectively)

During April 2018, U.S. EPA presented about the status of various Surface Coating NESHAP RTRs to the National Coil Coating Association and included the NESHAP for Printing, Coating, and Dyeing of Fabrics and Other Textiles as part of the discussion.  During the presentation, U.S. EPA shared that full-scale modeling has been completed for Subparts NNNN, OOOO, and RRRR using HEM 3 AERMOD modeling software and what existing, new, and emerging technologies would be reviewed during their Technology Review.

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart QQQQQ (Friction Materials Manufacturing Facilities)

On April 23, 2018, U.S. EPA proposed amendments to the rule.  As a result of the RTR, U.S. EPA proposed to remove the SSM exemption and revise the Subpart QQQQQ recordkeeping and reporting requirements.  On May 3, 2018 the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register.  Comments on the proposed rule were accepted through June 18, 2018.

What does all of this activity mean for your facilities operations?  We’ll refer to Kristin’s original list below on what to do while potentially affected entities await final rule issuance.

  1. Be Aware. The court decisions focused on RTR completion dates rather than the interim steps (i.e., specific dates for notice of proposed rulemakings, proposed rules, etc.).
    • Review U.S. EPA’s semiannual regulatory agenda for updates.
    • Keep checking in on ALL4’s website for updates, or just email or call us.
    • Understand the status of “your rule(s)” in review process and the projected interim steps, as this information will be valuable and help you plan.
  2. Know Your Data. As shared in the RTR rulemaking process (the nine-phase RTR rulemaking process is discussed in Kristin’s April 2017 article), Phase 2 includes reviewing data.
    • What data does U.S. EPA have about your source category(s) and/or your operations? Think emissions factors, emissions rates, pollutants, stack test data, Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data, and continuous monitoring systems (CMS) data from sources such as continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS), continuous parametric monitoring systems (CPMS), and predictive emissions monitoring systems (PEMS).
    • Have you reviewed this source category-specific data?
    • How has your plant data evolved over the last 14-17 years since the prior promulgation?
    • What corrections and updates, if any, should you make to your facility-specific data?
  3. Educate. As Peter Tsirigotis, Director of U.S. EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning Standards (OAQPS) shares, U.S. EPA is light on resources and often borrows from within U.S. EPA and/or utilizes contractors. These resources may not be familiar with your industry, operations, etc. They’re in a tough spot. Help them learn.
    • What U.S. EPA does not know could hurt your industry.  What can you do to educate your U.S. EPA rule writers?
    • Should you or your trade organization be sitting down with U.S. EPA?
    • Will you or a few representative industry sites be willing to host U.S. EPA to walk them through your process? (Hint: it might save you some time and pain in the long run.)
  4. Anticipate Information Collection Requests. In Phase 3 of the rulemaking process, U.S. EPA will often ask for additional information to aid in the rulemaking should they determine they do not have sufficient information (as authorized by Section 114 of the CAA).
    • Haven’t been through an Information Collection Request (ICR)? Clear your calendar now, prepare for a grueling exercise, and ask for help.
    • It’s not all bad news!  Not all ICRs are created equal, not all companies in a given industry will receive one, and not all RTR processes result in an ICR request.
    • However, if your company does receive an ICR, expect to pull together a lot of data on processes, operating scenarios, pollutants and emissions profiles, and CMS.  Additionally, you can expect to have to perform testing and/or sample select processes and operations. And yes, this is all on your dime.  U.S. EPA will impose deadlines and no, it’s neither optional nor cheap.
    • Because ICR responses can take substantial resources, plan ahead if you know that your rule(s) will include an ICR.  Allocate money in your budget.  Line up internal and external resources.  Educate your internal team (environmental staff, management, etc.) on the ICR process.
  5. Review and Comment. Phases 4-6 of the rulemaking process support the ultimate Federal Register publication of the proposed rule (Phase 7).
    • Review the proposed rule, as well as the accompanying preamble and support data that is included in the rulemaking docket (available at regulations.gov using the docket #). Typically, the proposed rule will be issued in an unofficial format followed by publication in the Federal Register a few weeks to a few months later.  When it’s published in the Federal Register, that’s when the clock starts, and additional docket information typically becomes available.
    • Comment on the proposed rule in the allocated time established (and keep an eye out for potential extensions that may be requested and/or granted).  Provide tangible comments and solutions in your response.  Also, tell U.S. EPA what does work for your facility, particularly if it’s a topic where you worked with them.  Environmental groups will also be commenting and U.S. EPA, having support for portions of the rule, will only help them maintain that approach in the final rule.  Finally, coordinate efforts with your trade groups, as applicable.
    • Don’t wait until the rule is proposed to become involved.  As mentioned in Educate above, get involved and influence the rule prior to its proposal.
  6. Plan.  It’s time to at least preliminarily plan for the changes you may need to make to comply with a final rule.
    • What additional internal and external resources will you need to implement the rule?
    • Will capital projects be required for compliance?
    • What permitting, if any, will need to be completed to support possible capital projects?
    • What is your schedule for upcoming turnarounds? Can you accommodate these projects into a turnaround?

ALL4 will be on the lookout for further updates, so check back on our site as we get closer to the December 31, 2018 deadline.  Feel free to reach out to us with any questions in the meantime.  We’re happy to discuss and help ensure your facility is in the best position possible.

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