What’s New With RACT 2?
Posted: August 28th, 2014Authors: John S.
As noted in previous ALL4 blog posts, the comment period for the proposed Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) 2 rule in Pennsylvania closed on June 30, 2014. Every potentially RACT 2 affected facility in Pennsylvania now needs to pay close attention to what is going on with regard to comments that Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has received from other State regulatory agencies in the Northeast, from U.S. EPA Region 3, from the usual list of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), and how these comments may significantly impact the RACT 2 regulations, as proposed. The current proposed RACT rule is referenced as RACT 2 because it is the second round of RACT regulations required as a result of Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements relative to attainment for the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone. Now that the public comment period has closed, the PADEP begins the very difficult and lengthy comment review and response process that is required before the proposed regulations can be issued as final.
For comments that suggest changes to the proposed regulations, PADEP must consider each such comment and decide what, if any, change should be made to the proposal. Whatever PADEP’s decision regarding their consideration of a comment, they must justify their decision within the context of what they believe is their obligation under the CAA, specifically for purposes of RACT for ozone attainment. The collective set of comments that PADEP has received regarding the proposed RACT 2 rule arguably represents the most intense lobbying effort to change a proposed regulation that I have ever observed regarding Pennsylvania air requirements. It is PADEP’s unenviable job to find the legal and practical balance always required when developing regulations.
It is important to note that a number of the proposed RACT 2 provisions, both for specific source types and for several of the general requirements, have come under serious scrutiny by commenters and as a result, could very well be revised by PADEP thereby becoming more stringent in the final RACT 2 rule. While the proposed version of the RACT 2 regulations may have “worked” for your facility, the final version of the rule could result in some unpleasant surprises. The current schedule for RACT 2 finalization is anticipated for late 2014 or early 2015. That schedule could slip if the anticipated rule revisions are sufficient to require a second round of public comments. Please check in regularly for further updates.