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Pennsylvania RACT 2 – We Are Finally There…And Even Though We Just Arrived, You’re Already Behind

Posted: November 19th, 2015

Authors: Ron H. 

I had the opportunity to attend the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) Meeting on November 17, 2015. It was the most crowded that I’ve ever seen Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building. So crowded in fact that a small contingent of latecomers (including me) could not find chairs; standing room only, so to speak. I was somewhat surprised by the size of the crowd for two (2) reasons: (1) the attendees of these types of regulatory committee meetings usually only fill Room 105 to about 25% of capacity in my experience, and (2) the Second Street off-ramp into Harrisburg heading toward Market Street at 8:45AM yesterday was a veritable parking lot (reference aforementioned tardiness). The great wheels of government were turning yesterday morning despite my late arrival.

Anyway, the first thing on the docket for the EQB meeting was PADEP’s presentation and subsequent discussion of the Revised Final-Form RACT 2 Rule. You can find the presentation slides and all associated documentation here. If you recall, the Revised Final-Form RACT 2 Rule has been on EQB’s docket for more than a year. Each time EQB threatened to address RACT 2, the EQB meeting was either cancelled or RACT 2 was removed from the docket. ALL4 has blogged about it multiple times. Despite the fits and starts that RACT 2 has experienced, it was approved by the EQB on November 17th and will be promulgated final in the, one hopes, not too distant future. According to my colleague John Slade, that process involves the rule being sent back to the State Attorney General’s Office, for approval and to clear a couple of other administrative hoops, followed by final promulgation in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Might happen before the end of the year, might not. If it doesn’t occur by the end of 2015 it will occur shortly thereafter.

So what changed? Changes of note in the Revised Final-Form RACT 2 Rule are as follows (plucked directly from PADEP’s presentation without shame):

  • 25 Pa. Code §129.96(c) now includes an exemption for sources at “major” RACT facilities that emit less than one (1) tpy of NOX or VOC emissions.
  • 25 Pa. Code §129.97(b)(1) now includes tune-up requirements consistent with those of 40 CFR §63.11223.
  • 25 Pa. Code §129.97(c) now also requires compliance with manufacturing specifications and good operating practices for sources NOX PTE less than five (5) tpy and potential VOC PTE less than 2.7 tpy.
  • NOX Emissions Averaging provisions have been restricted to sources located within the same geographic ozone nonattainment area within Pennsylvania.
  • If you own or operate a facility that needs to install a control device and submit the associated documentation [i.e., Plan Approval Application (PAA)] your compliance date is no more than three (3) years after final issuance of the resulting Plan Approval.

This last one (1) is really important…

  • The Revised Final-Form RACT 2 Rule requires compliance with applicable requirements and presumptive emissions limitations by January 1, 2017; instead of one (1) year from the effective date of the final rulemaking.

That’s a major difference from the previous version of the RACT 2 Rule and means that facilities that are planning to comply with presumptive RACT need to compile the necessary documentation to demonstrate compliance (i.e., emissions testing) now so that it is on file and available by January 1, 2017. It also means that facilities that are planning to comply via NOemissions averaging or case-by-case alternative RACT proposal should be developing their submittals, including extension request language, now as NOX averaging plans, extension requests, and/or PAAs proposing the installation of control devices need to be submitted within six (6) months of the final promulgation of the Revised Final-Form RACT 2 Rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Regardless, the compliance date is January 1, 2017 unless an extension request or PAA proposing the installation of a control device and requesting an extension is submitted.

As John Slade said to me on the phone earlier today, “If people have been sleeping on this waiting for it to be finalized, they need to wake up and get moving. They’re already behind.”

So how should you comply? We’ll discuss the three (3) general means of complying in more detail including the timelines associated with each in a subsequent blogpost early next week. In the meantime, give John Slade [(717) 822-0009] or me [(610) 933-5246 ext. 119] a call if you have any questions.


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