PSD Applicability- Routine Maintenance and Emissions Change Issues

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Courtesy of Trinity Consultants


This document details how the U.S. EPA (EPA) implemented key aspects of PSD permit applicability from the 1930s to the present and how the regulated community's interpretation of EPA's regulations, policy, and guidance evolved over the same time period. The focus is on the definition and use of the routine maintenance, repair and replacement exclusion and on various aspects of the emissions change calculations.

1974 to 1980 - Development of the PSD Rule
The first set of PSD rules was finalized in December 1974. Several rule changes occurred in the late 1970s, primarily as a result of the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Alabama Power court case. The following summarizes how these early rules addressed RMRR, including the impact of significant court cases.

1974 PSD Rule (1974 Rule)
The 1974 Rule's definition of modification included the RMRRexclusion. The definition was provided in52.01(d): The phrases 'modification' or 'modified source' mean anyphysical change in, or change in the method of operation of, astationary source which increases the emission rate of any pollutantfor which a national standard has been promulgated under Part 50 ofthis chapter or which results in the emission of any pollutant notpreviously emitted except that(1) Routine maintenance, repair and replacement shall not beconsidered a physical change.

1977 Clean Air Act Amendments
Congress then enacted the Clean Air Act Amendments on August 7, 1977. Section 169 contained some definitions, but nothing on routine maintenance, repair and replacement. There is a reference to 'modification' that refers to section 111(a) of the Act, which generally refers to New Source Performance Standards.

111(a)(4): The term 'modification' means any physical change in, or change in the method of operation of, a stationary source which increases the amount of any air pollutant emitted by such source or which results in the emission of any air pollutant not previously emitted. (Note the slight difference between this definition and that used in the 1974 Rule.)

1977 PSD Rules and Proposed PSD Rules
EPA published final rules on part of the law on November 3, 1977, as well as proposed rules on other parts. Those proposed rules (p. 57433) included the following exception (b)(2)(i): Maintenance, repair and replacement, which the Administrator determines (emphasis added throughout) to be routine for a source category, shall not be considered a physical change.

1978 PSD Rule (1978 Rule)
The 1973 Rule was published in draft form on March 1, 1978, and infinal form on June 9, 1978, based on the proposed rules. Thesignificant issue in these rules was the fact that 'potential to emit' wasbased on uncontrolled emissions of a source, excluding any reductionsthat were possible with control equipment.The preamble notes (under F. Other Exemptions) that an 'exemptionwould not be applicable as to BACT in situations where a major facilityis added to or is reconstructed at a source, whether the addition is toreplace previous production capacity or for growth.' Interestingly, nocomments on RMRR were made in the draft or final preamble.In these rules, the RMRR exclusion was written as:52.21 (b)(i) A physical change shall not include routine maintenance,repair and replacement. (Note that the terms used in the proposedrules requiring an Administrator's determination for routine weredropped.)

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