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September 2012 Pennsylvania Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee Update

Posted: September 17th, 2012

Author: All4 Staff 

The September 2012 Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) meeting was held on Wednesday, September 12th.  The agenda was very full, with three proposals that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) was seeking approval to take to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) for action.

AQTAC voted to approve taking the final form of the regulation to lower the sulfur content of fuel oil burned in Pennsylvania to the EQB for publication as final.  PADEP changed the sulfur content of No. 2 fuel oil in the final form of the regulation from 15 PPM to 500 PPM.  This change was supported by the petroleum industry and resulted in what PADEP classified as an “insignificant” increase in fine particulate emissions state-wide over the originally proposed 15 ppm sulfur limit.  The rule identifies the following limits:

No. 2 and lighter oil – 500 PPM
No. 4 oil – 2,500 PPM
No. 5, No. 6 and heavier oil – 5,000 PPM 

On an issue that will eventually impact all Title V facilities, AQTAC approved PADEP to propose a rulemaking to increase the Title V emission fee from $56 per ton to $85 per ton, beginning with emissions released in 2013.  2013 emission fees will be due on or before September 1, 2014.

AQTAC did not concur with PADEP sending their proposed Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT 2) regulation for major sources of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) as a proposal to the EQB.  The RACT regulation is a prerequisite of the U.S. EPA in order for Pennsylvania to revise any ozone designations to Attainment.  The AQTAC objections included.

  1. The regulation, as drafted, had very short submittal and compliance deadlines.
  2. Several members requested to know the overall number of RACT submittals that would be made to PADEP by affected facilities.
  3. Several members also wanted to know how many case-by-case RACT analyses were expected (case by case analyses would be required for facilities not able to meet the presumptive rule RACT levels).

A concern expressed by several AQTAC members related to the significant work effort that was required during the previous RACT submittals of the mid to late 1990s.  PADEP expressed confidence that they have significantly reduced the work effort, with numerous presumptive RACT compliance requirements in RACT 2 versus the required case-by-case requirements of the original RACT rule.  

PADEP will be returning to AQTAC either for the October or December AQTAC meeting with answers to these questions and likely regulatory revisions.  PADEP will again be seeking approval to move the revised RACT 2 regulation to the EQB for publication and comment.   We are advising all major sources of ozone precursors to keep an eye on the Pennsylvania regulatory agenda and to be prepared to offer comments on any proposed RACT revisions.


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