EPA Guidance Details How States Should Prioritize Area Source Air Toxic Rules for Compliance


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: Clean Air Act (as Amended) Air Toxics NESHAPs US Environmental Protection Agency

Guidance recently released by EPA outlines how states should prioritize area source air toxics rules for compliance.  (Area source rules cover facilities that emit less than 10 tons per year of a single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or less than 25 tons per year of a combination of HAPs.)

Issued on June 4, the guidance prioritizes the area source standards “by creating three groupings based on each rule’s potential for emission reductions.”  (This is consistent with July 2008 Guidance developed by the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards called Area Source Program Implementation Priorities Assistance Document for Regional Air Division Directors.)

A memorandum accompanying the guidance explained that that its purpose was to:  “(1) prioritize the area source rules to help delegated agencies and implementing regions focus their limited resources on the most significant standards to achieve emission reductions to the greatest extent possible; (2) identify recommended approaches to ensuring compliance with individual rules; and (3) provide delegated agencies and implementing regions flexibility to address regionally significant issues.”  The guidance also addresses other implementation issues, such as data reporting.

Chemical Manufacturing is one of the four industry sectors falling under the Group 1 (the highest priority) rules.  Describing Group 1, EPA writes that,

    In many cases, no state or federal rules regulate HAPs in the industry sectors covered by the Group 1 rules.  Consequently, opportunities exist for substantial emission reductions from implementation of these rules.  Approximately 1,000 facilities are expected to be subject to the four Group 1 rules.

The guidance subsequently details a recommended approach for implementing and reporting on each of the three groups of rules.  For group 1 rules,

    EPA recommends an integrated strategy using various tools to address and promote compliance within the Group 1 rules.  However, given the potential greater impact these facilities have on the environment and their effect on the health of communities because of their overall HAP emissions, EPA recommends delegated agencies / implementing regions focus their efforts and direct resources to the use of compliance monitoring and enforcement.  Compliance monitoring provides the greatest deterrent to non-compliance and therefore, may increase compliance with the Group 1 rules….

“Compliance monitoring” can include facility inspections, surveillance, investigations, as well as other actions.

The recommended Group 1 strategy outlines several components, including:

  • Identify Source Universe
  • Compliance and Enforcement Strategy
  • Reporting of Compliance and Enforcement Activities; and
  • Implementation Accountability

By prioritizing, states will be able to concentrate their compliance resources on the highest priority rules. 

For, groups two and three – which include the lower priority area source rules –the guidance promotes compliance assistance, rather than monitoring.  “Compliance Assistance” consists of agencies promoting the regulated community’s understanding of the rules through mass mailings, workshops or training courses, web-based tools, telephone “hotlines,” fact sheets, and other measures.  For these groups, the guidance explains that,

    “Many of these facilities are small businesses which previously had limited or no regulatory experience and compliance assistance provides an effective and efficient opportunity to work with these small sources.”

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