Increases in Pennsylvania Title V Emission Fees
Posted: February 15th, 2013Author: All4 Staff
For almost 20 years Pennsylvania facilities that are major sources of air pollution have been subject to annual air emission fees. These facilities are about to shell out some additional money for Title V air emission fees. Technically, the base Title V emission fee in Pennsylvania has not increased from the $37 per ton of “regulated pollutant” fee that was established in 1994, with a cap of 4,000 tons for each pollutant each year. However, each year since 1994 the base fee has been “adjusted” by the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index for the most recent calendar year exceeds the Consumer Price Index for the previous calendar year. The current Title V fee for 2012 calendar year emissions is $57.50 per ton. Starting with fees payable by September 1, 2014 for emissions in 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has proposed that the emissions fee for “regulated pollutants” will increase by $27.50 to $85 per ton. For 2014 emissions and beyond the $85 per ton fee will again be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index adjustment described above.
Basically, the fees collected at current rates are no longer sufficient to fund PADEP’s Title V operating permit program costs. PADEP has the responsibility to demonstrate to the U.S. EPA that it has sufficient funds to carry out its Title V Program. Much of the fee collection shortfall that has been experienced by PADEP can be attributed to reduced emissions resulting from better pollution control and the conversions of many major facilities to cleaner fuels. So, while your hard work may have resulted in lower emissions, your fees are not likely to decrease commensurate with your emission decreases.
The revised fee structure does not presently include fees for greenhouses gases (GHGs). While GHG reporting is now part of our lives (including reporting of GHGs for facilities in Pennsylvania starting with your 2012 AIMS reports), Title V air emission fees apply only to “regulated pollutants.” The term “regulated pollutant” means a volatile organic compound; a pollutant regulated under section 111 or 112 of the Clean Air Act; and each pollutant for which a national primary ambient air quality standard has been promulgated (except that carbon monoxide is excluded from this reference). GHGs do not presently meet this definition and therefore are not subject to Title V emission fees. This may not last for long, as U.S. EPA has announced its intention to address new source performance standards for GHGs for some source categories in future rulemaking. Someday GHGs may be part of the Title V fee structure. This would likely introduce some inequity problems among source types. Stay tuned.