EPA Issues Final Tailoring GHG Permitting Rule

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Courtesy of Acta Group

EPA estimates that Title V permits would be required for over six million sources not now subject to the program.

On June 3, 2010, EPA issued a final rule addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA). This controversial rule set thresholds for GHG emissions that define when permits under the New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V operating permit programs are required for new and existing industrial facilities.

The tailoring rule is based on three CAA legal developments. In 2007, the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007) found that GHGs are CAA air pollutants, subject to CAA authority. EPA responded in 2009 by issuing two findings last December: an 'endangerment finding' that the current and projected GHG emissions threaten the public health and welfare; and a 'cause or contribute finding' that combined emissions of these GHGs from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the GHG pollution that threatens public health and welfare. Finally, the agency issued its Interpretation of the PSD permit program memorandum, establishing that a pollutant is 'subject to regulation' only if it is subject to either a CAA provision or in an EPA regulation under the CAA that requires actual control of emissions of that pollutant. The confluence of these events compelled the agency to regulate GHG emissions under the PSD and Title V programs.

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