4 The record articles

Pennsylvania Contemplating “RACT 2” Regulation

Posted: October 23rd, 2012

Author: All4 Staff 

On September 12, 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) presented a draft proposed rulemaking, “Additional RACT Requirements for Major Sources of NOX and VOC” (referred to as “RACT 2”), to the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC).  A copy of the proposed draft rulemaking can be viewed here.  The draft proposed rulemaking includes the addition of several new definitions to §121.1 and several new sections to Chapter 129 (i.e., §129.96 through §129.100).  The RACT 2 requirements would apply to a major NOX or VOC emitting facility that was in existence on or before July 20, 2012 and would affect emissions units at such facilities for which no RACT requirement has been established.   RACT 2 requirements would also apply to facilities that become major NOX or VOC emitting facilities after July 20, 2012 as a result of a modification or the addition of a new source and would affect emissions units at such facilities for which no RACT requirement has been established.  The draft proposed RACT 2 rule differs significantly from its predecessor RACT rule from the mid-1990s as it includes “defined” unit specific RACT limits for most units instead of an overall “case-by-case” approach. The U.S. EPA has also been insistent that PADEP finalize RACT 2 regulations in order to proceed with the redesignation of several ozone nonattainment areas to attainment.

In addition to “presumptive” RACT requirements for certain combustion units, the draft proposal includes defined numerical RACT “standards” for specific sources (e.g., combustion turbines, internal combustion engines, small (< 20 MMBtu/hr) combustion units, etc.). RACT 2 also includes defined RACT standards for municipal waste landfills and municipal waste combustors. Specific RACT 2 standards for various sources are presented in terms that are reflective of the source (e.g., combustion units – lb/MMBtu, combustion turbines – ppmvd, internal combustion engines – grams/bhp-hr).  The draft proposed RACT 2 rule includes an option for facilities to propose alternative RACT emission limitations for units that are subject to specific RACT limitations.  Finally, unit specific RACT emissions limits would be required for NOX and VOC sources (at major NOX and VOC emitting facilities) that are not subject to specific RACT emission limitations.   All unit specific RACT proposals would be due six (6) months after the effective date of the RACT 2 rule, with compliance for all units required one (1) year after the effective date of the RACT 2 rule.

During the September 12, 2012 meeting, AQTAC reviewed the draft proposed RACT 2 rule and posed several questions related to the breadth of the rule and the timing associated with rule compliance that the PADEP could not immediately answer.  The draft proposed RACT 2 rule was on the agenda for the scheduled November 13, 2012 AQTAC meeting.  However, the November 13, 2012 meeting has been cancelled and the draft proposed RACT 2 rule will now be on the agenda for the December 13, 2012 AQTAC meeting.  This is a rule that will affect numerous facilities in Pennsylvania and all potentially affected facilities should be prepared to review and understand the rule upon proposal.


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