On May 13, 2010 EPA took one more regulatory action to address climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by issuing its final rule setting thresholds for GHG emissions that define when permits are required under the major EPA programs for stationary sources. These include the New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and title V Operating Permit programs.
First Step (January 2, 2011–June 30, 2011). In the first step of this three-step rule, for the first 18 months, only sources currently subject to the PSD permitting program (i.e., those that are newly-constructed or modified in a way that significantly increases emissions of a pollutant other than GHGs) would be subject to permitting requirements for their GHG emissions under PSD. Projects with GHG increases of 75,000 tpy or more of total GHG, on a CO2e basis, would need to determine the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for their GHG emissions. Similarly for the operating permit program, only sources currently subject to the program (i.e., newly constructed or existing major sources for a pollutant other than GHGs) would be subject to title V requirements for GHG.
Second Step (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013). Next, PSD permit requirements will cover for the first time new construction projects that emit GHG emissions of at least 100,000 tpy even if they do not exceed the permitting thresholds for any other pollutant. Modifications at existing facilities that increase GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy will be subject to permitting requirements, even if they do not significantly increase emissions of any other pollutant. Similarly, operating permit requirements will apply to sources based on their GHG emissions even if they would not apply based on emissions of any other pollutant. Facilities that emit at least 100,000 tpy CO2e will be subject to title V permit requirements. First-time Title V permittees are likely to be solid waste landfills and industrial manufacturers.
Third Step. EPA commits to another rulemaking, to begin in 2011 and conclude no later than July 1, 2012. That action will take comment on an additional step for phasing in GHG permitting, and may discuss whether certain smaller sources can be permanently excluded from permitting. EPA also plans to explore a range of opportunities to reduce permit burdens and to streamline permitting actions.
A copy of the EPA fact sheet is available at: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/documents/20100413fs.pdf
A copy of the final rule (515 pp.) is available at: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/documents/20100413final.pdf