4 The record articles

Slade’s Corner – Avoiding Regulatory “Fatigue”

Posted: June 5th, 2011

Author: All4 Staff 

It seems like there is a new air quality regulatory initiative being launched by U.S. EPA every week or so. From New Source Review (NSR) interpretations to greenhouse gas (GHG) programs to Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT), the litany of new and more stringent requirements never seems to end. Your state and local air pollution control agencies are also extra busy these days. It is very important that you, as an environmental manager, avoid regulatory fatigue and remain diligent in your regulatory reconnaissance efforts on all fronts (Federal, state, and, as applicable, local). 

With all of the new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, PM2.5, SO2, and NOX, State and Local regulatory agencies must revise their State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to provide for both reductions in areas of nonattainment and for maintenance to stay in compliance for areas already in attainment. Agencies must look at all reasonably available control measures (RACM), which, along with things like transportation control measures, also include new rounds of Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) for stationary sources. Most companies that are major sources (at least in Pennsylvania) have a very strong remembrance of the work effort involved with past requirements for RACT controls on emissions of NOX and VOC for ozone nonattainment. Over the next few years (some as soon as the next year), agencies will be going through a similar process of determining what RACT controls will be required for sources located in or significantly impacting all areas of NAAQS nonattainment. 

It will be increasingly important for environmental managers to “bird-dog” public notices of proposed RACT development by your state or local agency, and you should plan to participate by commenting on the proposed RACT control measure development that affects your facility. Never assume that your facility will not be covered by a new RACT requirement. Facilities should even comment on proposed RACT requirements that may be considered favorable. You never know what comments the agency might receive that will change a RACT requirement; commenting on a RACT regulation you like is as important as commenting on one you don’t like. And if your facility is different from the majority of similarly classified source types, it is especially important to comment to the agency how that leads to a different decision for RACT for your facility. Don’t get let your guard down through regulatory fatigue. 

Slade’s Corner is a regular column appearing in ALL4’s 4 The RecordJohn Slade is a Sr. Consultant with ALL4 and spent many years as a regulator with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), including nearly 14 years as Chief of the Division of Air Quality Permitting. Want to reach John or suggest an upcoming topic for Slade’s Corner? Contact John at jslade@all4inc.com or 717.822.0009. Slade’s Corner is an opinion-based column, and its content does not necessarily represent the opinion of ALL4 as a whole. 

Note from the author: This article is based on my candid opinions as of the date it was written and I reserve the right to change my mind as information evolves!

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