Clean Air Permit Changes Expected In November
Two big changes are in motion for air quality compliance. These changes affect facilities in all industries, and both small and large firms. Higher fines are effective immediately, and making changes to your Startup, Shutdown and Maintenance policies to omit emission exemptions will be effective November 16, 2016.
Higher Fines from EPA. Violations of the Clean Air Act will now cost the company $44,539 per day of violation period. That’s up from $37,500. Expect increases each year, as the EPA is now able to implement higher fines in relation to the cost-of-living. This is part of the new Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.
Additionally, facilities can expect higher fines for exceeding smoke, soot and smog limits at the state enforcement level.
Remove Startup, Shutdown and Maintenance Clause in Air Plans. This means that facilities will no long be able to claim a permit shield, or exemption, in the event an equipment breakdown, planned startup, or planned shutdown pushes the facility over the permit limits.
There are two crucial impacts on industry:
- Many facilities will incur hefty expenses by upgrading their equipment to reduce
- Facilities are face a spike in emissions could go from being labeled a minor source to a major source. Facilities will have to decide whether to include higher emissions in their permit or hope for the best.
States are Enforcing Changes to SSM. States including Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Louisiana have updated their state Startup Shutdown and Maintenance policies. If you are in Louisiana, don’t expect any leeway for sulfur dioxide or nitric acid emissions. Colorado, however, will still provide exemptions for some facilities as long as they immediately report issues and minimize emissions from an SSM event.
While some states are listening to the EPA, nineteen states along with different industry groups are not. They believe that any issues with equipment that lead to emissions should not be subject to fines. These states and groups are challenging the EPA in court, but a decision won’t be made till after the November 16th compliance deadline set by the EPA.
Do you have questions about environmental compliance? Contact an SRP Environmental Consultant today. We have seven convenient locations in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh. Call us toll-free at 866.222.4972 or visit us online.
Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, August 15, 2016