Vacatur of the 50 and 100-hour Nonemergency “Exemption” Provisions…What Does It All Mean? Some Much Needed Clarity
Posted: April 27th, 2016Authors: Ron H.
On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision which vacated (rendered null and void) portions of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Stationary Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Stationary Compression Ignition and Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Engines. The paragraphs that were vacated specified circumstances in which emergency engines may operate for a limited number of hours per year in two (2) situations: (1) emergency demand response when the Reliability Coordinator has declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2, and (2) when there is a deviation of voltage or frequency of 5% or greater below standard voltage or frequency. U.S. EPA requested and received a stay (suspension) of both court decisions until May 1, 2016.
The pair of decisions left in their wake many unanswered questions. Most notably; “How do I operate my RICE in compliance with the rules considering the vacatur of these two (2) related provisions?” The answer to this and other related questions was, “I don’t know”, at least until now.
Since the stay expires on May 1, 2016, on May 2, 2016 the decisions to vacate the specific portions of the RICE Rules will be in effect. Based upon this guidance, U.S. EPA will henceforth interpret the decisions to mean that an emergency RICE may not operate in the circumstances described in the vacated portions for any number of hours per year unless the emergency RICE is in compliance with the emissions standards and other applicable requirements for a non-emergency RICE.
It behooves facilities with remaining questions about these decisions to take another fresh look at their RICE operations and determine if they’ll remain compliant with the RICE Rules after the vacatur mandate is in effect on May 2, 2016. If you need help with that or have questions, contact Ron Harding at email@example.com or (610) 933-5246, extension 119.