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Update: RACT 2 in Pennsylvania – Almost Here?

Posted: March 26th, 2014

Author: All4 Staff 

As reported by ALL4 in December 2013, Pennsylvania’s proposed Reasonably Available Control Technology rule (i.e., RACT 2) was approved by the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) on November 17, 2013 as a proposed rulemaking for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. ALL4 has been reporting the progress of the RACT 2 rule since mid-2012 (9/17/2012, 10/23/2012, and 11/7/2012) as it progressed through the labyrinth of the rulemaking process. Along the way, the RACT 2 rule has been delayed by both the Pennsylvania Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) and more recently by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). However, based on discussions with PADEP personnel, the draft rule is expected to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin as a proposed rule within the next several weeks. The proposal is expected to mirror the draft rule approved by the EQB in November 2013. At this point, three (3) regional public hearings are anticipated to occur during the public comment period, and the comment period is expected to be around 60 days plus one (1) week for the public hearings.

The RACT 2 regulations will impact all major nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compound (VOC) facilities in Pennsylvania and many of those impacts could be significant. ALL4 recommends that potentially affected facilities review and understand how the rule, as proposed, could impact their operations. Based on that review, facilities should plan on preparing comments in response to the proposal for submittal during the upcoming public comment period and begin to strategically think about compliance strategies for a final RACT 2 rule by the end of 2014. A summary of the proposed rule, based on the EQB approved version, is provided below.

RACT 2 Applicability

As previously reported, the RACT 2 requirements would apply to major NOX or VOC emitting facilities that were in existence on or before July 20, 2012 and would affect emissions units at such facilities for which no RACT requirement has been established by specific regulatory emission standards. 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 term “has been established” pertains to specific regulatory limits that are defined in 25 Pa. Code §§129.51-129.52c, 129.54-129.69, 129.71-129.73, 129.75, 129.77, 129.101-129.107, and 129.301-129.310 (i.e., Standards for Sources). The proposed RACT 2 requirements would supersede the requirements of a RACT permit issued under 25 Pa. Code §§129.91-129.95 (i.e., case-by-case RACT), except in cases where an existing RACT permit specifies more stringent requirements. Conversely, the draft proposed RACT 2 requirements would supersede the requirements of §§129.201-129.205 (e.g., boilers, turbines, or engines in the 5-County Philadelphia region) or §§145.111-145.113 (i.e., stationary internal combustion engines), only where the proposed RACT 2 requirements are more stringent. The proposed RACT 2 rule will also specifically identify the Chapter 145 Subchapter C NOX limits as presumptive RACT for cement kilns and will require compliance with the applicable limits on a year round basis (versus ozone season compliance only as currently specified in §145.143).

RACT 2 Requirements

The proposed rule will include presumptive RACT requirements for certain combustion units and also contain defined numerical NOX RACT standards for specific sources including combustion turbines, stationary internal combustion engines, combustion units (boilers) greater than 50 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr), and cement kilns. RACT 2 also includes defined NOX RACT standards for municipal waste landfills and municipal waste combustors. The present regulatory VOC emission limits in §§129.51-129.52c, 129.54-129.69, 129.71-129.73, 75,129.77, 129.101-129.107 will be proposed as presumptive RACT 2 for VOC.

The “case-by-case” RACT option will also remain in the rule. Unit specific RACT emissions limits will be required for NOX and/or VOC sources (at major NOX and/or VOC emitting facilities) that are not subject to specific RACT emission limitations. Facilities that cannot meet the applicable presumptive RACT requirement or RACT emission limitation without installation of an air cleaning device will also have the option to propose alternative RACT emission limitations for those units through the case-by-case RACT process. All unit specific case-by-case RACT proposals would be due six (6) months after the effective date of the RACT 2 rule, with compliance for all such units required one (1) year after the effective date of the RACT 2 rule. The proposed rule will allow facilities that need to install controls to meet either the presumptive or approved alternative RACT limits to petition PADEP for an extension of compliance for up to 3 years after the effective date of the regulation.

RACT 2 Monitoring, Recordkeeping, Testing, and Compliance

Prescriptive compliance demonstration and recordkeeping requirements are specified in the proposed RACT 2 rule and address continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS), where applicable, and emission testing requirements. Compliance demonstrations are generally required within one (1) year of rule finalization or within one (1) year of becoming a major NOX or VOC source, with provisions for waivers under certain circumstances.  Also note that applicable RACT 2 requirements will need to be incorporated into Title V operating permits.

An averaging provision is included in the rule that would allow a facility that cannot meet the applicable NOX RACT requirement or NOX RACT emission limitation to meet such requirement or limitation by averaging NOX emissions on either a facility-wide or system-wide basis using a 30-day rolling average. System-wide emissions averaging must be among sources under common control of the same owner or operator in Pennsylvania.  However, there is a trade-off for site or system emissions averaging as the 30-day rolling average cannot be greater than 90% of the sum of the NOX emissions if each individual source included in the average complied with the applicable NOX RACT requirement or emission limitation.

Stay tuned to ALL4’s blog for more updates on the proposed RACT 2 rule as it continues through the rulemaking process.  For more information about RACT 2, contact Roy Rakiewicz.


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