7 Important Details about TCEQ’s Expedited Air Permitting Program
Posted: November 11th, 2014Author: All4 Staff
Effective November 13, 2014, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is rolling out a new Expedited Permitting Program under Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 101, Subchapter J. The regulated community can file a TAC Chapter 106, 116 or 122 air permit application and request expedited processing. While the program is subject to TCEQ resource availability, a surcharge, and demonstration that the purpose of the application will benefit the Texas or regional economy, only time will tell if the program will help the regulated community install, modify and construct air sources in an expedited manor. Seven (7) important details you should note about the program are below:
- Application: Applicants must file a new “Expedited Permitting Request” form and cover letter with the application: “Form APD-EXP.” For companies that have pending applications that wish to take part in the expedited program, Form APD-EXP and a cover letter, should be submitted to the Air Permits Initial Review Team (APIRT).
- ePermits: Applicants must use TCEQ’s ePermits for permits by rule (PBRs) and standard permits that are not subject to public notice. [Stay tuned… ePermits is currently not available. TCEQ will notify the public when it becomes available.]
- Acceptance/Denial: TCEQ will accept or deny the expedited request and will notify the entity via letter. Those accepted into the program will have 10 days to submit the surcharge. Form APD-APS should be utilized to submit the payment.
- Surcharge: Initial surcharges range from a flat rate non-refundable $500 for PBRs and Standard Permits (not requiring public notice) to $20,000 for Federal New Source Review (NSR) Permits – PSD including greenhouse gases (GHGs), Nonattainment NSR, Plantwide Applicability Limits (PAL). Standard Permits and Title V General Operating Permits (GOP) are $3,000, while Title V Site Operating Permit (SOP) and case by case NSR permits are $10,000. [Note: there is no additional fee for an NSR case-by-case permit, which accompanies a Federal NSR Permit; only the Federal NSR permit surcharge applies.]
- Refunds: TCEQ will issue refunds for projects with a remaining surcharge balance amount of $450 or more. No refunds will be issued for PBRs and standard permits with no public notice. Conversely, TCEQ will notify the applicant prior to the initial surcharge amount being depleted. The applicant can choose to provide additional funding or if the applicant elects not to provide additional funding to continue with the expedited process, the application will revert to a non-expedited project and will be reviewed according to standard agency timeframes. Essentially one could liken it to a budget that TCEQ has to work with and if they go over, the applicant has to pay a “change order” to remain in the expedited program.
- Timing: TCEQ qualifies the time to complete the air permit as dependent on many factors: APD workload, staff availability, application complexity, public participation, application completeness and thoroughness (i.e., sufficient administrative and technical detail). No specific timing has been provided by TCEQ to date.
- Recommendations: TCEQ suggests (and ALL4 agrees) several actions to speed up the process. Hold a pre-application meeting to discuss the project, regulatory applicability including beset available control technology (BACT), air dispersion modeling, project timing, etc. Submit a draft application for preliminary TCEQ review. As applicable, submit a draft modeling protocol for review by the TCEQ Air Dispersion Modeling Team (ADMT).