EPA Extends No Action Assurance Regarding Area Source Boiler Rule


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: Clean Air Act (as Amended)

Today, EPA’s Cynthia Giles, the head of the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, issued an extension of its No Action Assurance (NAA)  regarding the area source boiler rule.  The NAA for sources required to complete an initial tune-up now also includes the deadline for submitting the Notification of Compliance Status regarding the initial tune-up.   (The area sources boiler rule required those same sources to submit a Notification of Compliance Status regarding the initial tune-up by 120 days after the original March 21, 2012  deadline; i.e., by July 19, 2012.)

Previously, in March, EPA issued an NAA Letter regarding the March 21 deadline for the tune-up requirement for existing boilers.  That letter was aimed at “all owners and/or operators of existing industrial boilers and commercial and institutional boilers at area sources that are subject to the requirement to conduct a tune-up by March 21, 2012” in the rule which was finalized on March 21, 2011.  Specifically, this letter established that “EPA will exercise its enforcement discretion to not  pursue enforcement action for failure to complete a tune-up required by a work practice or management practice standard by the compliance date of March 21, 2012…”   Furthermore, EPA originally stated that the NAA will remain in effect until 11:59 PM EST October 1, 2012, or the effective date of a final rule addressing the reconsideration of the Area Source Boiler rule whichever occurs earlier.

In today’s letter, EPA noted that the final reconsidered area source boiler rule has not been issued, “and thus the No Action Assurance remains in effect.”  Furthermore, the agency writes, “Nothing that EPA has learned since the issuance of the original NAA letter has led EPA to question its original concerns about the feasibility of all sources timely completing an initial tune-up.” 

EPA also stated that this “exercise of discretion” was subject to certain conditions:

  • The extension of the March 13, 2012 NAA “is to remain in effect until either (1) 11:59 PM EST December 31, 2012, or (2) the effective date of “ a final reconsidered Area Source Boiler Rule, whichever occurs earlier.  (While last fall EPA had stated that it intended to finalize the boiler rules by April 30, 2012, the reconsidered rule remains at the Office of Management and Budget.  It has been there since the middle of May.)   EPA adds that it “has proposed new deadlines for initial tune-ups” (and thus, for the Notification of Compliance Status) in its proposed reconsidered Area Sources Boiler rule, and writes that, “if the Agency takes final action to adopt those proposed deadlines, they will control.” 
  • EPA also reserves the right to revoke or modify this extension.

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