End of the World or Not – U.S. EPA Issues the Final Rule for Chemical Manufacturing Area Sources NESHAP
Posted: December 27th, 2012Author: All4 Staff
On the heels of Christina Giannascoli’s November 5, 2012 blog, today’s blog provides an update to the status of the reconsidered and stayed Chemical Manufacturing Area Sources NESHAP (40 CFR Part 63, Subpart VVVVVV, or 6V). To recap how we got here: as with what seems like a never-ending host of regulations under reconsideration, or stayed, or rescinded, Subpart 6V’s reconsideration journey began back in February 2010, just over three (3) months following the issuance of the original version of the rule. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) proposed revisions to Subpart 6V in January 2012, and on October 25, 2012, stayed the final rule altogether.
While the regulated community waited with baited breath for the issuance of the final 4 Rules on December 20, 2012, U.S. EPA added a different direction, and finalized the proposed amendments to Subpart 6V on December 21, 2012. The primary contention with Subpart 6V was the requirement for area sources that installed a federally-enforceable control device on an affected unit to obtain a Title V permit. As part of the reconsideration actions, U.S. EPA stayed the Title V permit requirement in March 2011 for further consideration. In its summary of comments and responses, U.S. EPA stated that the requirement to obtain a Title V permit “is not overly burdensome,” and that “requiring additional public involvement and compliance assurance requirement through Title V is important to ensure that these sources are maintaining their emissions at the area source level.” U.S. EPA further commented that they think “the burden is not significant because these facilities are generally larger and more sophisticated than natural area sources and sources that took operational limits to become area sources.” The requirement for affected facilities to submit a Title V permit application to its permitting authority is December 21, 2013.
The final rule also added an affirmative defense to civil penalties for violations of emission standards that are caused by malfunctions. Consistent with recent regulatory proceedings, emissions standards under Subpart 6V apply during periods of startup and shutdown. Lastly, the final rule includes technical corrections that clarify applicability and compliance issues. In the spirit of the holidays, U.S. EPA extended the compliance date for existing sources until March 21, 2013. A link to the December 21, 2012 Federal Register publication can be found here.