USEPA Hazardous Air Pollutant Rule Proposals – How could this affect your facility?

In September, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed two rulemakings to improve the regulation of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) under Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112. The first action proposes to amend the criteria and process for adding HAPs to the list of air toxics regulated by CAA Section 112. The second action proposes to amend the requirements for major sources of HAPs that reclassify themselves as area sources under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program. The USEPA claims that these rules will protect public health, promote transparency and accountability, and reduce regulatory burden. While these rulemakings won’t change any requirements for your facilities on their own, if a new HAP is listed that could cause your facility to go over the major source thresholds or if your facility is interested in reclassifying (or has reclassified since January 2018) from a “major” source of HAP to an “area” source, there may be additional regulatory steps and permit conditions that your facility may have to comply with.

Infrastructure for New HAP Additions

The USEPA proposed an action to clarify the regulatory requirements that occur immediately upon the listing of a new HAP, including the need for facilities to include the new HAP when calculating projections of future HAP emissions and when a facility can trigger new requirements under the CAA after a new HAP listing. Additionally, it seeks to clarify when a facility moves from being regulated under the CAA as a “minor” source to a “major” source of hazardous air pollutants. It also proposes a timeline by when facilities must comply with CAA requirements.

Major Source Reclassification

The second proposal focuses on the issue of major sources of HAPs that reclassify themselves as area sources after reducing their emissions below the major source thresholds. The requirements of this proposal would apply to all sources that choose to reclassify, including any sources that have reclassified since January 25, 2018. The USEPA is proposing that sources reclassifying from major source status to area source status under the NESHAP program must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Any permit limitations taken to reclassify from a major source of HAP to an area source of HAP must be federally enforceable
  • Any such permit limitations must contain safeguards to prevent emission increases after reclassification beyond the applicable major source NESHAP requirements at time of reclassification
  • Reclassification will only become effective once a permit containing enforceable conditions reflecting the requirements proposed in this action and electronic notification has been issued and been submitted to the USEPA.

Next Steps

The comment period for both proposals ended on November 13, 2023. Final rules for both rulemakings are expected sometime in 2024.

More information on both proposals can be found at the following links:

Infrastructure for New HAP Additions | US EPA

Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act | US EPA

For further information or to learn how these proposed actions may affect your facility, please contact Andy Sheppard at 540-580-1540.



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