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News Archive

EPA Proposes Reconsideration of Supplemental MATS Finding (2/7/19)

In today's Federal Register, dated February 7, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 26 - 35 total pages), EPA has proposed their reconsideration of supplemental finding and residual risk and technology review of the MATS rule.  At this time it's unclear what the ultimate outcome of this new finding would mean for the industry.  Comments are due by April 8, 2019.   There will also be a public hearing concerning this proposed rule.  The time and location of the public hearing will be announced in a subsequent Federal Register notice.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library. 

EPA Proposes Revisions to MATS Rule Findings (1/1/19)

On December 26, 2018, the Acting Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a proposed rule to revise the Supplemental Cost Finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (the MATS rule), as well as the Clean Air Act (CAA) required risk and technology review (RTR).  After accounting for both the cost to comply with the MATS rule (costs that range from $7.4 to $9.6 billion annually) and the benefits attributable to reducing hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from these power plants (quantifiable benefits that range from $4 to $6 million annually), as EPA was directed to do by the U. S. Supreme Court (Michigan v. EPA), the Agency proposes to determine that it is not "appropriate and necessary" to regulate HAP emissions from power plants under Section 112 of the CAA.  According to the proposal, this revised finding would correct flaws in the Agency's 2016 Supplemental Finding on this issue.  The emission standards and other requirements of the MATS rule, first promulgated in 2012, would remain in place because EPA is not proposing to remove coal- and oil-fired power plants from the list of sources that are regulated under Section 112 of the Act. 

 EPA is also proposing the results of the risk and technology review, which is required by section 112. The proposed RTR shows that no additional regulations are required.  Lastly, EPA is also taking comment on establishing a subcategory for emissions of acid gas HAP from existing electric utility steam generating units (EGUs) firing eastern bituminous coal refuse.  EPA will take comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register; however, publication in the Federal Register likely will be delayed pending resolution of the partial government shutdown.

EPA Finalizes Changes to Test Methods and Performance Specs (11/19/18)

In the Federal Register, dated November 14, 2018 (Volume 83, No. 220 - 22 total pages), EPA has finalized their latest round of revisions to various test methods and performance specifications.  These revisions go into effect on January 14, 2019.  These revisions were originally proposed on January 26, 2018.  A copy of the Final Rule can found in our FTP library.


"ACE" Published in Federal Register (8/31/18)

In today's Federal Register, dated August 31, 2018 (Volume 83, No. 170 - 68 total pages), EPA has formally proposed the "Affordable Clean Energy" (ACE) rule.   Comments may be submitted by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 at https://www.regulations.gov and are due by October 30, 2018.  An electronic copy of the Federal Register release today can be found in our FTP library.

CPP Replacement - "ACE" Proposed (8/21/18)

EPA Acting Administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, has signed a notice proposing a replacement to the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP).  The proposed rule, which contains revised emissions guidelines for states to develop plans to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, has been re-branded as the "Affordable Clean Energy" (ACE) rule.  According to the notice, EPA is proposing three distinct actions:

  • "First, EPA is proposing to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP) with revised emissions guidelines (the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule) that inform the development, submittal, and implementation of state plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain EGUs.  In the proposed emissions guidelines, consistent with the interpretation described in the proposed repeal of the CPP, the Agency is proposing to determine that heat rate improvement (HRI) measures are the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for existing coal-fired EGUs." 

  • "Second, EPA is proposing new regulations that provide direction to both EPA and the states on the implementation of emission guidelines. The new proposed implementing regulations would apply to this action and any future emission guideline issued under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA)".

  • "Third, the Agency is proposing revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) program that will help prevent NSR from being a barrier to the implementation of efficiency projects at EGUs."

Electronic copies of EPA's overview document and the notice/proposed rule that has been sent for publication in the Federal Register (FR) can be found in our FTP library.


EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns (7/05/18)

US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has formally resigned.  Amid various scandals and attacks, Pruitt has official stepped down from the Administrator position.  It is expected that Andrew Wheeler will become EPA's acting Administrator on Monday of next week.  At this point, is is unclear whether the Trump administration intends to nominate Mr. Wheeler for Senate confirmation or plans to nominate someone else outside of EPA.  More details will be provided about the effect of this move as they become available.  RMB's website and twitter feed will stay updated with the latest developments.  Stay tuned.....

MATS Reporting Rule Extended (6/27/18)

Late yesterday, US EPA Administrator Pruitt signed a final rule extending the MATS interim reporting provisions through July 1, 2020.  As a result, utilities will continue to submit certain EGU MATS documentation in PDF format via ECMPS until July 1, 2020.  A digital copy of the final rule can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Approves ALT-129 (Sorbent Trap HCl Test Method) (5/30/18)

On May 30, 2018, EPA approved Alternate Test Method (ALT) 129 which is "applicable only to coal-fired electric utility steam generating units subject to 40 CFR part 63, Subpart UUUUU, with low moisture combustion flue gases at temperatures above 100 degrees C (212 degrees F) with no entrained water droplets.  The alternate test method may be used for both quarterly compliance testing and relative accuracy testing of HCl CEMS under Subpart UUUUU."  The link to ALT-129 is https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-05/documents/alt-129_0.pdf.  This link provides the reader with a copy of the ALT-129 approval letter from EPA.  To obtain a copy of the actual test method, the reader must obtain Other Test Method (OTM)-40: Determination of Hydrogen Chloride Emissions from Coal-Fired Combustion Sources using Sorbent Traps.  The link to OTM-40 is https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-05/documents/otm-40_05-2018.pdf.

EPA Approves Alternative Test Method 123 (3/9/18)

In a letter dated March 6, 2018, EPA has formally approved the use of Alternative Test Method 123 (ALT-123).  This approval now allows for the combination of sampling procedures of Method 3B with the analytical procedures found in Method 3A.  NOTE: This approval is strictly for quarterly PM performance testing under 63.10021(d) of Subpart UUUUU.  A copy of the approval letter and additional details for ALT-123 can be found in our FTP library.

DOJ Memo - EPA Guidance Documents Not Enforceable (2/27/18)

In a memorandum dated January 25, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stated:  "Guidance documents cannot create binding requirements that do not already exist by statute or regulation."  For many years there have been discussions concerning EPA issued guidance documents and their enforcability.  It would seem at the moment, a line in the sand has been drawn.   A copy of the DOJ memo can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Proposes Changes to Test Methods and Performance Specs (1/26/18)

In today's Federal Register, dated January 26, 2018 (Volume 83, No. 18 - 21 total pages), EPA has proposed their latest round of revisions to various test methods and performance specifications.  Comments are due by March 27, 2018. A copy of the proposed changes can found in our FTP library.

EPA Proposes to Repeal Clean Power Plan! (10/16/17)

In today's Federal Register, dated October 16, 2017 (Volume 82, No. 198: 15 total pages), EPA has proposed repeal of the widely controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP).  In accordance with Executive Order 13783, 82 FR 16093, EPA is proposing to change the legal interpretation as applied to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), on which the CPP was based by the Obama Administration.  Comments on this proposed repeal must be received on or before December 15, 2017. A copy of the proposed repeal can found in our FTP library.

EPA Publishes Technical Corrections to Procedure 6 (9/21/17)

In today's Federal Register, dated September 21, 2017 (Volume 82, No. 182: 3 total pages), EPA has finalized technical amendments to Procedure 6 (Ongoing QA for HCl CEMS).  This final rule makes minor technical amendments to the proposed changes from May 19, 2016.  A copy of the final rule can found in our FTP library.

EPA Publishes Proposed Revisions to Method 202 (9/8/17)

In today's Federal Register, dated September 8, 2017 (Volume 82, No. 173: 23 total pages), EPA has formally proposed revisions to Method 202.  This proposed rule makes editorial and technical revisions to EPA's reference method for determining condensable particulate emissions from stationary sources.  Comments on this proposed rule must be received by November 7, 2017.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library.

Final Rule Published to Extend Interim MATS Reporting Period! (4/6/17)

Good news! In today's Federal Register dated April 6, 2017 (Volume 82, No. 64: 5 total pages), EPA has formally extended the MATS interim PDF reporting process.  This final rule, effective today, extends the interim reporting period to June 30, 2018.

EPA Withdraws Proposed Greenhouse Gas Rules (4/3/17)

On April 3, 2017, a notice was published in the Federal Register in which EPA withdraws two proposed rules that are related to the Agency's Clean Power Plan (CPP).  The first proposed rule that EPA is withdrawing was published on October 23, 2015 and is titled, "Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules; Amendments to Framework Regulations."  The second proposed rule was published on June 30, 2016 and is titled, "Clean Energy Incentive Program Design Details."

In the April 3rd Federal Register notice, EPA explains that the Agency intends to review these proposed rules in conjunction with its comprehensive review of the CPP.  A thorough review of the CPP plan was directed by Executive Order 13784, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth."  The notice further states that based on its review of the CPP, the Agency will determine how best to proceed, which may include the development of new, proposed rules consistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

Procedure 2 - Direct Final Rule Withdrawn (2/15/17)

 

In today's Federal Register dated February 15, 2017 (Volume 82, No. 30: 1 total page), EPA has issued the following statements regarding the November 21, 2016 Direct Final revisions to Part 60, Appendix F, Procedure 2 for PM CEMS:

"Because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received an adverse comment, we are withdrawing the direct final rule titled, 'Revisions to Procedure 2 - Quality Assurance Requirements for Particulate Matter Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems at Stationary Sources.' Effective February 15, 2017, the EPA withdraws the direct final rule published at 81 FR 83160, on November 21, 2016. We stated in that direct final rule that if we received adverse comment by December 21, 2016, the direct final rule would not take effect and we would publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register. We subsequently received adverse comment on that direct final rule requesting that the EPA delete or reserve section(s) in the rule that conflict with the intended revisions. We will address the comment in a subsequent final action, which will be based on the parallel proposed rule also published on November 21, 2016, at 81 FR 83189. As stated in the direct final rule and the parallel proposed rule, we will not institute a second comment period on this action."

 

Executive Order Regulations (1/26/17)

 

In today's Federal Register dated January 26, 2017, EPA issued the following statement:

"In accordance with the Presidential directive as expressed in the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled "Regulatory Freeze Pending Review," this action temporarily delays until March 21, 2017, the effective date of the regulations listed in the table below. EPA identified 30 regulations that meet those criteria."


The Presidential directive essentially contained or addressed three separate categories of regulations.  Today's Federal Register notice addresses Category 3 - those regulations that have already been published in Fed. Reg., but have not gone into effect when the Presidential directive was published (e.g., regulations are often published in Fed. Reg. with an effective date 60 days after publication).

 

Perhaps more poignantly, Category 2 of the Presidential directive instructs EPA to withdraw any rules from the Office of Federal Register (OFR) that had been signed by the EPA Administrator and submitted to OFR, but not published in Fed. Reg. as of 1/20/17.  This is of particular importance because the rule to extend the delay in the MATS electronic reporting requirements falls into Category 2.  As many of you may know, on or about 1/8/17, the former EPA Administrator McCarthy signed a rule to extend the delay for MATS electronic reporting from 4/16/17 until 6/30/18; however, that rule had yet to be published in Fed. Reg. at the time the Presidential directive was released.  As a result, EPA must withdraw the rule from OFR.  Obviously, industry needs the additional time while EPA staff works to finalize revised electronic reporting requirements that were proposed in September 2016.  Hopefully, this final rule does not "raise substantial questions of law or policy," and will get published as soon as the water begins flowing again.  However, until a new Administrator is confirmed, this rule will remain in regulatory purgatory.   

 

EPA's Technology Transfer Network (TTN) Site Moved/Changed (1/26/17)

 

EPA's TTN site has been moved/changed.  It will now be known as "Technical Air Pollution Resources".  As you may know, the TTN site was a great resource for Test Methods, Performance Specifications, and approved Alternative Methods.  The new site may be found at the following URL:  http://www.epa.gov/technical-air-pollution-resources.  From there, you can select the Air Emissions Measurement Center (EMC) for additional information, or click here: http://www.epa.gov/emc 

 

MATS Semiannual Reporting Deadline Approaches  (1/17/17)

 

For sources with a one-year extension, the deadline for submitting the first MATS Semiannual Report is rapidly approaching.  The reports must be submitted through ECMPS in PDF format by January 31, 2017.  The semiannual compliance report contains information regarding the monitoring system performance (as applicable), fuel usage, boiler tune-up, excess emissions, and deviations.  The initial Semiannual Report file may represent more than six months if you began compliance monitoring prior to the start of the second quarter of 2016 (e.g., you started demonstrating compliance on 4/16/16).  

 

Final Rule Signed to Extend Interim MATS Reporting Period (1/11/17)

Good news! The EPA Administrator signed a final rule on Monday that extends the MATS interim PDF reporting process while the Agency continues to work on an additional final rule that would address the other proposed reporting changes. The final rule would extend the interim reporting period to June 30, 2018. EPA acknowledged that it received comments suggesting that the deadline be replaced corresponding to fixed time period (e.g., two years) after the promulgation of the complete final reporting rule "in order to provide a smooth transition to the single electronic reporting system." The Agency even suggested that it "may choose to adapt such an approach at a future date." But, EPA said "for now, we believe a deadline of June 30, 2018, will provide certainty to industry stakeholders, third party programmers, regulatory authorities, the public, and the EPA" and "will give us adequate time to complete our review, respond to comments, and promulgate a separate final rule addressing the remaining issues in the September 29, 2016 proposal." Along with extending the interim reporting date, the Agency also finalized correction to alternative relative accuracy specification for mercury CEMS in Appendix A, which was a part of the proposed rule that received no adverse comments.

Although this final rule has been signed by the Administrator, it will not become effective until it is published in the Federal Register.  It is possible that this rule may get caught up in pending regulations, which is an approach that has been used by recent incoming administrations to provide a review of "midnight" regulations issued by out-going administrations.  As a result, there could be a period where the MATS reporting would revert back the original ERT and CEDRI requirements.  However, one might argue that the signed rule provides clear indication of EPA's intent for sources to continue to use the interim PDF reporting requirements while the new reporting provisions are being developed.

A copy of the final signed rule can found in our FTP library.

Court Vacates Certain Major Source IB-MACT Standards (10/31/16)


On July 29, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in U.S. Sugar v.  EPA that settled all outstanding legal challenges regarding the area source IB-MACT, major source IB-MACT, and CISWI Rules.  The opinion is largely viewed a win for EPA as the court upheld the Agency's position on a variety of issues related to the major source rule including the following:

  • Elimination of affirmative defense for malfunction events
  • Pollutant-by-pollutant approach for setting emission standards
  • Energy assessment requirement
  • Lack of heath-based emission limitation for HCl
  • Use of upper prediction limit (UPL) in setting emission standards
  • Fuel/combustion-based subcategories

Perhaps the most significant outcome was the court's decision to vacate certain IB-MACT standards based on a potential flaw in EPA's methodology for establishing the pool of units used to set the emission floor in the major source IB-MACT rule.   In the final rule, to qualify for certain subcategories, a source was required to burn at least 10% of the fuel associated with a subcategory based on annual heat input.  However, in selecting the units for the emissions floor analysis, EPA only included units that fired at least 90% of that fuel for existing units and 100% for new units.  The court indicated that this disparity would result in a less stringent standard in some cases since the best performing units were not necessarily included in the pool of units if all units for that subcategory had been considered when setting the emissions floor.  EPA has identified the following (11) existing unit and (9) new unit emission standards as potentially affected under the ruling:

  • Existing Solid Fuel (HCl and Hg)
  • Existing Coal Stokers (CO)
  • Existing Wet Biomass Stokers (CO and PM)
  • Existing Biomass Fluidized Bed (CO and PM)
  • Existing Biomass Suspension Burners (PM)
  • Existing Liquid Fuel (HCl and Hg)
  • Existing Heavy Liquid (PM)
  • New Solid Fuel (Hg)
  • New Pulverized Coal Boilers (CO)
  • New Biomass Fluidized Bed (CO and PM)
  • New Biomass Suspension Burners (PM)
  • New Biomass Hybrid Suspension Burners (PM)
  • New Biomass Hybrid Suspension Grate (CO)
  • New Liquid Fuel (HCl)
  • New Heavy Fuel (PM)

EPA has petitioned the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court to rehear the Court's vacatur of the emission standards.  While the Court has not acted on EPA's petition, RMB would be very surprised if the petition was granted or the vacatur were changed to a remand.  The environmental petitioners as well as a group of industry petitioners both have filed petitions for rehearing and rehearing en banc (full court) of certain parts of the D.C. Circuit decision.  The Court has not acted on these petitions either.    Please see our FTP library for a copy of the court's ruling.

Federal Civil Penalties for CAA Violations Revised (8/8/16)

EPA has promulgated revisions to the statutory civil monetary penalty amounts for the statutes the agency administers.  This action was mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended through 2015.  These penalties, which originally were on the order of $25,000 then increased to $37,500, have now been increased to $93,750.

What does this really mean?  Statutory civil penalties for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015 and assessed on or after August 1, 2016 will cost 250% more than before.  Compliance with the MATS Rule has never been more critical or costly if compliance is not demonstrated! 

MATS Technical Corrections Published (4/6/16)

Today, EPA's MATS "Technical Corrections" have been published in the Federal RegisterTHESE REVISIONS BECOME EFFECTIVE TODAY!.  These revisions include the long awaited revisions to the 80-100 day quarterly testing window requirement.  Many of the revisions remain relatively unchanged from the proposed rule.  However, EPA did change its stance on the proposed alternative mercury RATA specification.  Instead of limiting sources to an untenable 10% of the mercury limit (about +/-0.1 mg/m3 for most sources), the final rule establishes a new alternative limit of 0.5 mg/m3 based on the absolute difference of the mean readings plus the confidence coefficient.   A copy of the promulgated final rule revisions can be found in our FTP library

MATS Technical Corrections Signed (3/21/16)

Last week, EPA released a signed version of the final MATS "Technical Corrections" Revisions including the long awaited revisions to the 80-100 day quarterly testing window requirement.  Many of the revisions remain relatively unchanged from the proposed rule.  However, EPA did change its stance on the proposed alternative mercury RATA specification.  Instead of limiting sources to an untenable 10% of the mercury limit (about +/-0.1 mg/m3 for most sources), the final rule establishes a new alternative limit of 0.5 mg/m3 based on the absolute difference of the mean readings plus the confidence coefficient.   A copy of the signed final rule revisions can be found in our FTP library.

US Supreme Court Rules - Blocks Clean Power Plan  (2/10/16)

On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court ordered a stay on the Clean Power Plan.  This ruling temporarily blocks EPA's effort to regulate CO2 emissions until other legal challenges are addressed..

On the very same day which EPA's suite of carbon rules for electric generating units (EGUs) were published in the Federal Register (see article below), a number of groups filed legal challenges in the D.C. Circuit of Appeals.  The first challenge was led by the State of West Virginia and joined by 23 others states.  According to the State's Petition, "the final rule is in excess of the agency's statutory authority, goes beyond the bounds set by the United States Constitution, and otherwise is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law."  

 

At least 10 additional legal petitions were filed on the day the rule was published including:, the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) and American Public Power Association (APPA); United Mine Workers of America; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA); International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths and Forgers; Florida Electric Coordinating Group; and several individual electric utility companies.  And so the legal dance begins....

EPA Publishes Final GHG Rules (aka "Clean Power Plan")  (10/23/15)

In today's Federal Register dated October 23, 2015, EPA issued the final version of NSPS Subpart TTTT (GHG emissions for new units) and NSPS Subpart UUUU (GHG emissions for existing units, aka the "Clean Power Plan").  These rules regulate CO2 emissions from new, reconstructed, modified and existing EGUs under 40 CFR Part 60.  In addition, EPA issued a proposed Federal Plan/Model Trading Rule for GHG emissions from existing units that can be found in 40 CFR Part 62.  Copies of these rules can be found in our FTP library.


US Supreme Court Rules Against EPA (6/29/15)

In response to a case brought about by EPA neglecting cost in its "appropriate and necessary" finding, which is the basis for the Utility MATS Rule, the Supreme Court of the United States concluded in a 5-4 decision:

"We hold that EPA interpreted ยง7412(n)(1)(A) unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants.  We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and remand the cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

While this is a big declaration in reeling in the Agency, this ruling DOES NOT REMAND THE MATS RULE!  STAY TUNED!

Final PS-18 and Procedure 6 Released (6/26/15)

EPA released a copy of the final version of PS-18 and Procedure 6 for HCl CEMS this week.  A copy the new final signed version of PS-18 and Procedure 6 can be found in our FTP library.

RMB EPRI CEMS Users Group Meeting Presentations Available (5/26/15)

RMB has added the MATS Rule Implementation and MATS Emission Calculations slides from the presentations that were recently given by Dru Sanders and Bethany White at the EPRI CEMS User Group Meeting under Papers and Presentations.


NSPS Electronic Reporting Rule Proposed (3/23/15)

On Friday, EPA published a proposed rulemaking that would require sources affected by many subparts under the Part 60 new source performance standards to begin reporting data electronically using CEDRI and the ERT. This rulemaking would affect many industries including waste combustors, cement plants, refineries, ore smelters, steel mills, fertilizer plants, paper mills, and many others including electric utilities. While EPA indicates that electronic reporting for Subparts D, Da, Db, and Dc would be addressed "under a separate and independent rulemaking," the proposed rule would require many of combustion turbines under Subparts GG and KKKK to start using CEDRI and the ERT. A copy of the proposed rule can be downloaded from the following link:

A copy the new final version of the transitional electronic reporting rule can be found in our FTP library.

MATS Transition Electronic Reporting Rule Signed (3/16/15)

The Administrator has signed the final version MATS rule revisions that will suspend the requirements to report data electronically using the ERT and/or CEDRI and instead allow sources to report the same type of information in PDF format using ECMPS.  This rule was originally proposed as a direct final rule in November.  While most comments favored of the rule, EPA did receive one adverse comment, which predicated the Agency's withdrawal of the original direct final rule and the promulgation of this new final version. 

Although EPA discusses its response to the comments in some detail in the preamble to this new rule, the Agency generally found the adverse comment to be without substance.  The new version of the rule mirrors the original proposed language with the exception of a minor addition stating that "each PDF version of a submitted report must include sufficient information to assess compliance and to demonstrate that the testing was done properly."  As the preamble describes, these transitional reporting requirements are part of a broader effort to revise the reporting requirements to ultimately allow sources to report MATS data in a similar manner (and formats) to the way emissions data are reported under Part 75.  Awaiting publication, the transitional reporting requirements will become effective immediately when it appears in the Federal Register.

A copy the new final version of the transitional electronic reporting rule can be found in our FTP library.

Proposed MATS Clarifications/Corrections (2/17/15)

The proposed MATS "corrections and clarifications" that the Administrator signed late last year were finally published in the Federal Register today. While these proposed revisions are presented primarily as technical corrections, a number of the changes will have significant impact. The proposed changes include allowing 30- or 90-day mercury compliance averaging for most coal-fired sources, tightening the mercury CEMS RATA specifications, and revising to the recent additional reporting requirements that EPA imposed as part of its reconsideration of startup/shutdown issues.  Comments on the proposed rule revisions will be due by April 3, 2015.  A copy of the proposed MATS technical revisions can be found in our FTP library.


CSAPR is Back (11/26/14)


On October 23, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted EPA's motion to lift the stay on the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).  On November 21, 2014, EPA published a ministerial rule which revises the dates in CSAPR to align them with the revised court-ordered schedule.  EPA also published Notice of Data Availability (NODA) that aligns the final CSAPR default allowance allocation years with the court-ordered schedule.  CSAPR is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2015. 

A copy of the CSAPR ministerial rule can be found in our FTP library.

Did EPA Unreasonably Refuse to Consider MATS Costs? (11/26/14)

EPA's final Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule was published in the Federal Register on February 16, 2012.  On April 15, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld EPA's MATS rule.  However, Judge Kavanaugh wrote an interesting dissenting opinion in which he explained why he believed EPA erred in failing to consider cost as an integral part of the Agency's "appropriate" decision. 

On November 25, 2014, the U. S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to a group of petitioners regarding the MATS rule.  The writ of certiorari granted by the Supreme Court is limited to the following specific question: did EPA unreasonably refuse to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.

MATS Startup/Shutdown Reconsideration & Electronic Reporting (11/7/14)

EPA released final revisions to the MATS Rule reflecting the Agency's reconsideration of startup and shutdown related issues.  The revisions create a new optional definition of startup that would allow sources to exclude data for compliance purposes for a period of four hours after producing electricity or steam for commercial purposes.  However, the rule includes many new requirements for sources that choose to use the new definition including the requirement to maximize the use of "clean fuels" during the startup period.  New parametric monitoring and reporting requirements are imposed on sources that choose to demonstrate PM compliance using quarterly testing.  The revisions also institute two approaches for monitoring startup and shutdown emissions using sorbent traps.

The Agency also released direct final revisions that would create interim reporting requirements as new electronic formats developed to replace the current ERT and CEDRI requirements.  The direct final rule and parallel proposal are consistent with the approach that the Agency outlined at the recent stakeholders meeting in DC.  Once the revisions becomes effective, the requirement to report data electronically using the ERT and/or CEDRI would be suspended.  Instead, the same type of information would simply be reported in PDF format while EPA develops new alternative XML reporting formats to replace the ERT and CEDRI.  Unless EPA receives adverse comments, the transitional reporting requirements will become effective 45 days after published in the Federal Register.

A copies of the startup/shutdown reconsideration revisions and the transitional electronic reporting rule can be found in our FTP library.

Proposed CO2 Regulations Published in Federal Register (6/18/14)

On June 18, 2014, EPA's Clean Power Plan, which represents the much anticipated CO2 emission standards and guidelines for existing, modified and reconstructed power plants, was published in the Federal Register.  A copy of the final Proposed regulations from the Federal Register can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Proposes CO2 Regulations for Existing and Modified Units (6/2/14)

On June 2, 2014, EPA released the Clean Power Plan, which represents the much anticipated CO2 emission guidelines for existing power plants. At the same time, EPA also released proposed CO2 requirements for modified and reconstructed units. Both rules follow the proposed rule for new units that was published in the Federal Register on January 8, 2014.

Clean Power Plan for Existing Units

The Clean Power Plan represents the first-ever CO2 emissions standards for existing units in the power generation industry. Although the proposed rule primarily affects reductions in coal-fired emissions and generating capacity, the implementation of the rule will significantly impact the entire industry (i.e. natural gas, renewables, nuclear).

The rule includes two sets of output-based CO2 standards (lb-CO2/MWh net) for each state, representing a state-wide average of all power generating sources. The first is an interim set of standards for the period 2020 - 2029; compliance will be based on the 10-year period 2020 - 2029. The second set of emission standards represents long-term reduction goals (beyond 2030). EPA estimates that the proposed rule will reduce carbon emissions from the power generation sector in 2030 by 30% from 2005 levels.

The two proposals were developed under the authority of Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Accordingly, all regulations that flow from EPA's proposed guidelines must be implemented at the state level based on EPA-approved state implementation plans (SIPs). State must submit implementation plans no later than April 16, 2016 although this deadline may be extended up to three years if the implementation plan involves a multi-state program. Section 111(d) is an infrequently used section of the CAA. As described in more detail below, EPA's compliance approach extends well beyond the power plant source category. This unprecedented use of Section 111(d) authority may well be challenged in court by every affected facility in the U.S.

The proposed target CO2 emission rates are based on the 2012 baseline emissions rates which are then reduced using a combination of strategies EPA refers to as "building blocks." These building blocks include energy efficient improvements for existing coal-fired units (Block 1), shifting capacity from coal-fired units to existing natural gas combined cycle units (NGCC) based on available capacity (Block 2), increasing renewable generation sources and delaying retirement of existing nuclear sources (Block 3) and demand size reduction measures (Block 4). EPA applies the net effect of each building block to the 2012 emissions rate and generating data to determine a new weighted average representing the emissions target for each state. EPA's assumptions used for the renewal capacity shifting (Block 3) and implementation of demand-side reductions (Block 4) appear incredibly optimistic. Although the assumptions are consistent between states for each building block, the effect on the target emission rate vary according to the distribution of generation and the other state-specific factors.

Modified/Reconstructed Units

The proposed rule includes separate numeric CO2 emission standards for modified and reconstructed fossil-fuel fired electric utility steam generating units (including integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) units) and natural gas-fired combustion turbines.

For modified steam generating units, EPA is proposing two alternative standards. The first alternative is based on unit-specific numeric output-based emission standard ( lb-CO2/MW net) that is two percent lower than the unit's best demonstrated annual performance during the years from 2002 to the year the modification occurs, which EPA claims can be achieved through a combination of best operating practices and equipment upgrades. These emissions limits would be limited 1,900 lb CO2/MWh net for units with a heat input rating greater than mmBtu/hr and 2,100 lb CO2/MWh net for units with a heat input rating of 2,000 mmBtu/hr or less. The second alternative is based on the timing of the modification. Sources that are modified prior to the effective date of the SIP would follow the procedure for establishing a unit-specific standard outlined in the first alternative. Sources that are modified after this date would be subject to a unit-specific standard determined by the delegated authority.

For modified natural-gas fired combustion turbines, the proposed standard is based on natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology. The emission limits proposed for these sources are 1,000 lb CO2/MWh gross for facilities with heat input ratings greater than 850 mmBtu/hr, and 1,100 lb CO2/MWh gross for facilities with heat input ratings of 850 mmBtu/hr or less. EPA is also proposing an optional unit-specific standard based on energy efficiency improvements.

For reconstructed units, the proposed standards are based on the most efficient generating technology for each type of unit. For fossil fuel-fired boilers and IGCC units the emissions standard is 1,900 lb CO2/MWh net for units with a heat input rating greater than 2,000 mmBtu/hr and 2,100 lb CO2/MWh net for units with a heat input rating that is less than or equal to 2,000 mmBtu/hr. Reconstructed natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines with a heat input rating greater than 850 mmBtu/hr would be required to meet a standard of 1,000 lb CO2/MWh gross. EPA is also taking comments on a range of potential emissions standards and whether the standards should be based on a gross or net output.

Pursuant to President Obama's June 25, 2013 Memorandum, EPA is directed to finalize these proposed rules by June 1, 2015. The comment period will be at least 120 days, and will begin following publication in the Federal Register. EPA will hold four public hearings during the week of July 28 in Denver, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh. Additional information can be found in our FTP library and the EPA's website.  

RMB EPRI CEMS Users Group Meeting Presentations Available (5/26/14)

RMB has added the Summary of Hg Monitoring Experiences and All Carbon All the Time - CO2 Regulatory and Measurement Bias Overview slides from the presentations that were recently given at the EPRI CEMS User Group Meeting under Papers and Presentations.

 

EPA Promulgates Procedure 3 (COMS QA Procedures) (5/16/14)

On May 16, 2014, EPA published Procedure 3, Quality Assurance Requirements for Continuous Opacity Monitoring Systems at Stationary Sources, as a final rule in the Federal Register.  Procedure 3 establishes the ongoing QA/QC requirements for COMS.  Affected sources must comply with Procedure 3 no later than November 12, 2014.  Procedure 3 requires daily calibration drift tests; quarterly calibration error tests, optical alignment checks and zero compensation checks; and annual zero alignment audits. Procedure 3 also requires affected sources to develop written QA/QC procedures for conducting the required tests.  Procedure 3 allows the use of a temporary COMS to replace the primary analyzer during repairs.  Section 10.5 also requires affected sources to develop a corrective action program that addresses what diagnostic tests must be performed after certain preventive and corrective maintenance procedures to ensure that the COMS is collecting valid data.  Along these lines, the final Procedure 3 excludes Table 17-1 from the proposed Procedure 3 (published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2012) which was more prescriptive in defining the required diagnostic and/or recertification tests.    A copy of the final Procedure 3 can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Proposes PS-18 and Procedure 6 (HCl CEMS) (5/14/14)

On May 14, 2014, EPA published proposed Performance Specification 18 (PS-18) and proposed Procedure 6 (Appendix F, 40 CFR Part 60) in the Federal Register.  This new performance specification details the test procedures required to certify gaseous hydrogen chloride (HCl) continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) at stationary sources.  Procedure 6 specifies the proposed ongoing QA/QC requirements for HCl CEMS.  Comments on the proposed rules must be received on or before June 13, 2014.  A copy of the newly proposed PS-18 and Procedure 6 can be found in our  FTP library.

MATS Electronic Reporting Workgroup (4/21/14)

As described in a recent EPA letter, the Agency is interested in working with the industry to pursue changes to the MATS electronic reporting requirements.  The rule currently requires a complicated mix of reporting.  Affected utilities must report certain data through the Emissions Collection and Monitoring Plan System (ECMPS) but also report data--sometimes redundantly--using the Electronic Reporting Tool (ERT) and/or the Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI).  While sources would still need to report information to demonstrate compliance, significant improvements could be made to reduce the burden of the reporting.

Based on our discussions with the Agency, RMB is forming an ad hoc workgroup to help utilities work with the EPA to improve, streamline and simplify the electronic reporting requirements under the MATS Rule.  As described more fully in our MATS Reporting Workgroup Proposal, we intend develop alternative formats and reporting instructions following collaborative approach with the cooperation of both industry and EPA.  Utilities need detailed reporting instructions/formats to develop the tools and software that will allow them to demonstrate compliance and perform required reporting and recordkeeping tasks.  In contrast to entering data via the ERT or CEDRI, alternative formats could allow sources to automate the data collection more easily and to handle the emissions reporting more consistently.  By developing the format and reporting instructions first, the industry and EPA can avoid ambiguity and allow the information to be reported in an efficient way.  To facilitate this effort, EPRI will be holding a webinar on April 30, which will provide a forum for both EPA and RMB to discuss this effort and possible rule revisions.  Details about the webinar can be found here.  Please contact Steve Norfleet at (919) 791-3123 or norfleet@rmb-consulting.com if you would like more information on how to support this effort and join the workgroup.

 

Utility MATS Rule Upheld (4/21/14)


On April 15, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.  The Court consolidated approximately 30 judicial petitions and captioned the case White Stallion Energy Center v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Court basically dismissed all of the judicial petitions (industry's as well as the environmental groups') and affirmed the MATS Rule.


The most fundamental question before the Court was whether EPA reasonably established that it was appropriate and necessary to regulate utilities under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.  However, the case also included a variety of other challenges to the rule such as:

  • Did EPA appropriately established the mercury MACT floor?

  • Were the lignite emission limits properly determined?

  • Was EPA within it is authority to regulate all HAPS emissions instead of just the ones it found to pose a health risk?

  • Should the Agency have established both major and area source categories?

  • Should a less stringent health-based standard have been established for acid gases?

  • Should a separate source category have been defined for circulating fluidized bed units?

  • Are the use of emissions averaging, quarterly testing and the LEE provisions appropriate for monitoring compliance?


For all issues addressed, the Court showed significant deference to EPA and held that the Agency's positions or decisions were reasonably (or at least permissibly) established.

Judge Kavanaugh wrote an interesting dissenting opinion in which he explained why he believed EPA erred in failing to consider cost as an integral part of the Agency's "appropriate" decision.  Remember that ง 112(n)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act directs EPA to regulate electric utility generating units under this section (i.e., ง 112) if the Administrator finds such regulation is "appropriate and necessary."  In sum, Judge Kavanaugh questioned how any government agency could ever decide a regulation was appropriate without understanding how much the rule would cost to implement.


A copy of the Court's decision may be downloaded from our FTP library.
 

Test Method Revisions (3/5/14)


On February 27, 2014, EPA issued a Final Rule including revisions to Test Methods and Testing Regulations.  EPA's action promulgates technical and editorial corrections for source testing and includes some new alternatives in selected test methods found in Part 51, Part 60 Appendix A, and Part 63 Appendix A.  The action also updates certain performance specifications found in Part 60, Appendix B and quality assurance procedures found in Part 60, Appendix F. 


For example, Procedure 2, Quality Assurance Requirements for Particulate Matter Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems at Stationary Sources, modified the daily calibration drift test calculations so that the upscale and zero drift equations include the FS (Full Scale) Value of the instrument in the denominator versus Ru (Upscale Check Value).  This revision now makes the PM CEMS specifications consistent with other monitor calibration error criteria which is calculated as a percent of span.  For sources currently operating PM CEMS, this Procedure 2 revision will, in most cases, necessitate a change to the data acquisition and handling system (DAHS) programming to ensure ongoing compliance.  The sample volume audit calculation for applicable extractive PM CEMS was also updated.  In addition, alternative breakthrough criteria were added to the mercury monitoring performance specification 12-B (i.e. the sorbent trap monitoring method, PS-12B) as well as changes to calibration procedures in Method 30B. 


A copy of the promulgated test method revisions is available for download in our FTP library.

 

Revised ECMPS Reporting Instructions (2/7/14)


In late December 2013, EPA published draft revisions to the Emissions Collection and Monitoring Plan System (ECMPS) Monitoring Plan and QA/Certification Reporting Instructions. EPA also published draft ECMPS Emissions Reporting Instructions in Janary 2014. These revisions allow sources affected by the Utility MATS Rule to report Monitoring Plan, QA/Certification and emissions data for Hg CEMS, HCl CEMS and Hg sorbent trap systems.  Currently, ECMPS does not include reporting procedures for PM CEMS.  A copy of the draft ECMPS reporting instructions are available in our FTP library.

 

Utility MATS Rule Compliance (1/21/14)


For many existing affected units, compliance with Subpart UUUUU to 40 CFR Part 63 (typically referred to as the Utility MATS Rule) rule begins on April 16, 2015, although the rule does include a provision for a one-year extension for sources that need more time to install emissions controls.  While the units must be able to meet the applicable MATS emissions limits by April 16, 2015 (or April 16, 2016 if an extension applies), the rule allows sources to conduct the required compliance tests within 180 calendar days after the compliance date.  A copy of the Utility MATS Rule is located in our FTP library.


RMB has provided regulatory and continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) consulting services to electric utilities and industrial sources for over twenty years.  Since the Utility MATS Rule was initially proposed, RMB assisted UARG in preparing comments on various technical issues with the rule and has helped numerous utilities to develop monitoring strategies and test programs to assess options for complying with the rule. With respect to the rule's monitoring options, RMB has provided support to many sources using particulate matter (PM) CEMS, mercury (Hg) CEMS and Hg sorbent trap systems.  RMB has managed several EPRI field demonstration projects for PM and Hg CEMS.  Since 2013, RMB has also managed EPRI's hydrogen chloride (HCl) CEMS field demonstration project.  Click here for a copy of RMB's recent Utility MATS Rule newsletter.  Click the following link for a list of services RMB provides to assist with all aspects of MATS compliance:  RMB MATS Services.  Please feel free to contact one of RMB's staff to discuss our services in more detail.

 

LEE Qualification for Hg (1/6/14)


The MATS rule includes a provision that exempts sources with very low Hg emissions from the requirement of continuously monitoring vapor phase Hg emissions (i.e., no Hg CEMS or sorbent trap monitoring requirements.  This provision is known as "LEE" (i.e., Low Emitting EGU) status.  For Hg, qualifying for LEE status must be done each year and requires thirty (30) boiler operating days of Hg data collected using EPA Reference Method 30B.  To qualify, the test data must demonstrate that the emissions are either less than 10% of the applicable emissions limit or that the maximum potential emissions of Hg are less than 29 lbs/yr.  LEE Qualification testing can be performed up to 1 year prior to the MATS compliance date.  As a result, Utilities that believe they can meet the requirements of this provision may perform the required testing starting this April!


RMB has a tremendous amount of field experience with all aspects of Reference Method 30B and the associated analytical requirements that can be applied to help one conduct these qualification tests.  In addition, RMB personnel proposed an alternative moisture determination method specifically for use during Hg LEE qualification in lieu of costly and time consuming EPA Method 4 measurements. This alternative method (Alt-091) was accepted by EPA and can be found on their website at the following link: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/emc/approalt.html. RMB personnel have already assisted numerous facilities in successfully completing all the requirements necessary for demonstrating LEE qualification. This support included, but was not limited to: procuring testing equipment, performing testing and providing onsite training, conducting onsite analysis and analytical training, and performing all necessary calculations to demonstrate LEE qualification.

 

New 2013 Final Part 75 Policy Manual (9/10/13)

After years of draft versions, EPA has finally released a "final" version of the Part 75 Emissions Monitoring Policy Manual that incorporates changes prompted by the January 24, 2008, March 28, 2011, and August 12, 2011 amendments to 40 CFR Part 75 and the conversion of the CAMD data systems to ECMPS.  The new 2013 final revisions replace EPA's earlier October 28, 2003 version of the policy manual.  A copy of the new version of the policy manual can be found in our FTP library.

 

EPA Finalizes New Unit Emission Limits (3/29/13)


On November 30, 2012, EPA published a Reconsideration Notice in the Federal Register, proposing to revise certain new source emission limits that are contained in the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule. EPA proposed to revise the filterable PM limit from 7.0E-3 to 9.0E-2 lb/MWh; the mercury limit from 2.0E-4 to 3.0E-3 lb/GWh; and the HCl limit from 4.0E-4 to 2.0E-2 lb/MWh. On March 28, 2013, EPA Acting Administrator, Bob Perciasepe, signed a rule finalizing the new-unit emission limits identical to the values contained in the Agency's proposal. According to EPA's Fact Sheet, new units "will use the same types of state of the art control technologies to meet these standards as they would have used under the previously finalized standards." RMB generally concurs with the following EPA statement: "We project that these updates will result in no significant change in costs, emission reductions or health benefits from MATS."

In the final reconsideration rule, EPA did not take final action on a number of start-up/shutdown technical issues. EPA acknowledged receiving considerable input regarding the start-up and shutdown provisions in the MATS rule and decided to take additional time to consider and evaluate the comments and data received.

 

Final IB-MACT Rules Published (2/1/13)


On January 31, the final major source IB-MACT rule was published in the Federal Register, immediately followed by the publication of the final area source rule on February 1, 2013. These actions reset the compliance date for existing major sources and clarified the deadline for those sources subject to initial boiler tune-ups under the area source rule. The compliance dates for the major source rule are January 31, 2016, for existing sources and, January 31, 2013, or upon startup, whichever is later, for new sources. New major sources are defined as sources that began operation on or after June 4, 2010.

The final area source rule revises the compliance date for existing boilers subject to a tune-up from March 21, 2012, to March 21, 2014. Note that the compliance dates for existing sources remain the same. The compliance date for existing sources is March 21, 2014. The compliance date for new area sources that began operations on or before May 20, 2011 is May 20, 2011. For new sources that start up after May 20, 2011, the compliance date is the date of startup. New area sources are defined as sources that began operation after June 4, 2010.

The deadlines for Initial Notification, which provides EPA or the delegated state agency notice that a source is subject to a particular standard, have also been revised. The deadline for major sources is May 31, 2013 and for area sources is January 20, 2014. Any source that that is affected by these rules and seeks to qualify one or more units under the area source rule should complete an area source determination as soon as possible in order to meet the initial notification deadline for major sources, if necessary. Under EPA's "once in, always in" policy, once a source is designated as a major source it must remain subject to major source requirements. Copies of the rulemaking can be found in our FTP library.

 

EPA Issues Final IB-MACT Rules (1/2/13)


On December 20, 2012, EPA finalized revisions to both the major source and area source IB-MACT Rules, the CISWI Rule, and the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) Rule. EPA had proposed reconsideration of a number of issues in December 2011 based on extensive petitions received after the final rules were issued earlier that year. The final rules incorporate many of these proposed revisions including some additional revisions not included in the proposals.

For sources under the major source IB-MACT Rule, most existing coal- and biomass-fired units will now be subject to less stringent emissions standards. The final rule replaces the dioxin/furan emission limit with a work practice standard based on a boiler tune-up. The rule also includes two carbon monoxide (CO) emission standards for each boiler and fuel type combination including one based on periodic reference method testing and another based on continuous emissions monitoring. The continuous monitoring standard is now based on a 10-day or 30-day rolling average depending on the subcategory. In most cases these revised limits are more consistent and represent an achievable level of emissions for many units. EPA also modified the emissions standards for PM to include separate standards for different biomass fuels, a single PM standard for all solid fossil fuels and an alternative limit for total selected metals (TSM). The hydrogen chloride (HCl) standard remains unchanged in the final rule and, although it represents an achievable level of emissions for many biomass-fired units, most coal units and some biomass units will require sorbent injection in order to comply. Other changes include revised output-based standards for fuel-based pollutants, the elimination of continuous PM monitoring for biomass units, a revised definition of limited use boilers based on capacity factor, and reduced tune-up frequencies for many subcategories.

Perhaps the most significant revision is the change in the compliance dates for new and existing units. EPA also revised the definition of a new unit to include any new or reconstructed source that commenced construction or reconstruction prior to June 10, 2010. For existing units, the compliance date has been reset to three years from the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The compliance date for new units is the publication date or the date of unit startup, whichever is later. The final rule will become effective 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. Copies of the rulemaking can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Proposes Reconsideration Action (11/26/12)

Following publication of the rule EPA refers to as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) on February 16, 2012, the Agency received a number of petitions for reconsideration pursuant to ยง 307(d)(7)(B) of the Clean Air Act. One of the petitions was filed by a group of utility developers, all of whom are proposing to construct new electric generating units (EGUs) that are subject to the new-unit emission limits set forth in the MATS rule. The petitioners argued that EPA's new-unit emission limits were flawed because of measurement issues with the mercury data and because the Agency failed to use all of the available data in setting the filterable particulate matter (PM) and HCl emission limits.

On July 20, 2012, EPA signed a letter, stating the Agency intended to grant the petitions for reconsideration on certain issues related to the emission standards set for new EGUs. EPA formally stayed the new unit emission limits in a Federal Register notice published on August 2, 2012. On November 16, 2012, EPA signed a Reconsideration Notice, proposing to revise certain new source emission limits that are contained in the MATS rule. EPA proposes to revise the filterable PM limit from 7.0E-3 to 9.0E-2 lb/MWh; the mercury limit from 2.0E-4 to 3.0E-3 lb/GWh; and the HCl limit from 4.0E-4 to 2.0E-2 lb/MWh. While the numerical increases may appear rather large, the proposed new-unit emission limits remain quite stringent, and all will require the installation of a full suite of state-of-the-art control technology in order to comply with these new-unit emission limits. RMB concurs with the following EPA statement in its notice, "we expect that source owners and operators will install and operate the same or similar control technologies to meet the proposed revised standards in this notice as they would have chosen to comply with the standards in the February 2012 final rule."

Upcoming Deadline for MATS Initial Notification (8/1/12)

The deadline for submitting Initial Notification for existing sources (initial startup date prior to April 16, 2012) subject to MATS is August 14, 2012. Initial Notification is a requirement in the Part 63 General Provisions (ง63.9(b)) and specifies that all existing sources subject to a new MACT standard must notify the Administrator and delegated authority that they are subject to the new standard within 120 calendar days after the source becomes subject to the standard. Affected sources must provide the following information in the Initial Notification:

  • Name and address of owner or operator
  • Physical address of affected source
  • Identification of relevant standard
  • Brief description of nature/size, design, and method of operation of the affected source and the types of HAPs emitted
  • Statement as to whether the affected source is a major or an area source of HAPs

EPA has provided an example Initial Notification Report, which is available in our FTP library. The form also contains additional information on where to submit the report.

Reconsideration of MATS for New Units (7/23/12)

On July 20, 2012, EPA issued a letter stating that the Agency intends to reconsider portions of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (MATS), also known as the EGU MACT Rule for new units. EPA's action is in response to several administrative petitions received pertaining to the emission standards for new units. The letter identifies mercury measurement issues and computational issues associated with the dataset used to establish the hydrochloric acid (HCl) and filterable particulate matter (FPM) emission standards. EPA plans to expedite the reconsideration with a final rule expected in March, 2013. EPA also indicated that it will stay the standards for new units for three months. An official notice is expected to be published shortly in the Federal Register. This latest action does not affect the standards or compliance dates for existing units. Note, however, the EPA letter is silent with respect to a host of other reconsiderations topics relevant to existing units. A copy of the letter can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Issued New "No Action Assurance" For IB-MACT (7/22/12)

On July 18, 2012, EPA issued a "No Action Assurance" letter delaying another of the compliance deadlines in the Area Source IB MACT Rule. The rule requires that sources submit a Notification of Compliance Status regarding the initial tune-up no later than 120 days after the compliance date of March 21, 2012, which suggests a deadline of July 19, 2012. In the latest action, EPA is extending this deadline until December 31, 2012 or until the rule is finalized. Since a finalized rule has not yet been issued, this action circumvents potential compliance issues for affected area source units. Earlier this year, EPA issued a No Action Assurance letter that delayed the deadline for conducting the initial tune-up until October 1, 2012 although EPA did not also extend the deadline for the Notification of Compliance Status at that time.

EPA's latest action highlights the recent speculation on the release date of the final reconsidered IB-MACT rules. The final rules were submitted to OMB on May 17, 2012. The end of the 90-day OMB review period (August 15, 2012) is quickly approaching. If OMB seeks to extend the review period in the next few weeks then we can speculate this may be an early indicator that the final rules could be delayed until after the election.

DC Circuit Court Upholds GHG Regulations (7/19/12)

On June 29, 2012, on the heels of the recent DC Circuit Court decision that reaffirmed the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Tailoring Rule, EPA finalized additional regulations to continue phasing in GHG permitting requirements under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V programs. The latest rule, Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule Step 3 and GHG Plant-wide Applicability Limits (a.k.a. the "Step 3" Rule), leaves the current PSD and Title V applicability thresholds established under the Tailoring Rule intact, thus maintaining the status quo for GHG permitting applicability. The rule also provides guidelines for developing plant-wide applicability limits (PALs) for GHG emissions.

Under the Tailoring Rule (2010), EPA requires major sources of GHG emissions to obtain a PSD or Title V permit using a "phased" approach. PSD applicability in the first phase (Step 1) applies to unit modifications that result in a net GHG emissions increase of 75,000 tpy CO2e if the project also significantly increases emissions of at least one non-GHG pollutant. Under Step 1, which took effect January 2, 2011, Title V applicability applies only to those existing sources with a Title V permit. Under the second phase (Step 2), which took effect on July 1, 2011, new sources as well as existing sources not already subject to the Title V program that emit, or have the potential to emit at least 100,000 tpy CO2e ("major source") will become subject to the PSD and Title V requirements. In addition, major sources that conduct a modification with a net GHG emissions increase of at least 75,000 tpy CO2e will also be subject to PSD requirements. In the third phase (Step 3) or the original rule, EPA committed to an evaluation of whether expansion of PSD and Title V applicability is warranted for smaller sources. The current action is a direct result of this commitment. In the "Step 3" rule, EPA concludes that further lowering of the PSD/Title V applicability thresholds is not warranted at this time because permitting agencies have not had sufficient time to implement the existing GHG requirements and increasing the number of affected facilities will only reduce the efficiency of permit implementation.

In this final rule, EPA is also updating the requirements for establishing PALs for GHG emissions. A "PAL" is a facility-wide emission limit for a pollutant that enables the facility to avoid the New Source Review (NSR) permitting process as long as emissions are maintained below the PAL. The final rule allows PALs to be established on an individual mass basis (tons per year) or in terms of CO2e (tons per year) for a CO2e emissions limitation. The rule is allowing sources with GHG emissions above 100,000 tpy CO2e that are also a minor source of other regulated pollutants to apply for a GHG PAL and retain minor source status. A copy of the final rule is available in our FTP library.

DC Circuit Court Upholds GHG Regulations (7/9/12)

On June 26th, the DC Circuit Court settled a series of lawsuits against EPA, essentially supporting some of EPA's recent greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. The plaintiffs, including various state agencies and environmental and industrial groups, filed petitions for review of the recent EPA actions, including the GHG Endangerment Finding, the Tailpipe Rule and the Timing and Tailoring Rules. Although not involved in this case, the court decision also reaffirms EPA's recent GHG regulations under the New Source Performance Standards.

Central to this decision was EPA's Endangerment Finding (2009), which found that CO2 and other GHGs were considered an endangerment to public health. Although the Endangerment Finding was a consequence of the 2008 Supreme Court decision regarding legality of GHG regulation for motor vehicles, it essentially clarified the definition of an "air pollutant" under the CAA and established the basis for GHG regulations for stationary sources under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and the Title V permitting programs. The first of these regulations, known as the "Timing Rule" clarified that major sources of GHGs would be subject to PSD and Title V requirements beginning on January 2, 2011. The second of these regulations, known as the "Tailoring Rule" limited the initial scope of the regulations to the larger emitters with the intent of reducing the permitting burden.

In their petitions, state and industry petitioners rejected the Endangerment Finding, citing several issues such as inadequate supporting data, failure to quantify public health risks, and a fundamental misinterpretation of the CAA ง202(a)(1), which provides the statutory link between GHG regulation and the Endangerment Finding. In the ruling, the DC Circuit Court rejected all of these arguments and found that the Endangerment Finding was wholly consistent with the requirements of the 2008 Supreme Court directive and CAA. On the key issue of the supporting scientific data, the Court rejected industry arguments that there is too much uncertainty in the correlations between GHG emissions and indicators of global climate change to support GHG regulation. Instead, the Court found that such uncertainty is overruled by the need to protect public health, particularly if the supporting evidence is "difficult to come by, uncertain, or conflicting because it is on the frontiers of scientific knowledge."

The Court also agreed with EPA's interpretation of the PSD and Title V permitting trigger. Following the Endangerment Finding, EPA issued the "Tailpipe Rule", which set first-ever emissions standards for cars and trucks. Because this action caused GHGs to be considered a "regulated pollutant" under the CAA, EPA interpreted this to trigger GHG permitting actions for stationary sources under the PSD and Title V permitting programs since these programs also rely on the same statutory definition of an "air pollutant."

Finally, the Court dismissed all challenges to the Tailoring Rule, which clarifies the statutory threshold for GHG permitting actions, on the basis of the legal standing of the petitions without further consideration of the merits of the case. The Court stated that petitioners did not adequately demonstrate that they would have been harmed by the rule and, therefore, could not challenge the constitutionality of the rule.

The Court's ruling is a significant blow to those attempts to undercut the foundation of existing and future GHG regulations. Petitioners will likely take the case to the Supreme seek or request to have the case heard en banc from the full panel of DC Circuit Court judges. However, a rehearing is unlikely given the unanimous ruling. Without further action, this decision suggests that the future of GHG regulations will ultimately be determined through litigation on rule-by-rule basis. A copy of the ruling can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Proposes GHG Emission Limit (4/17/12)

Undoubtedly a prodigious occurrence, EPA's controversial proposed new source performance standards (NSPS) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for electric generating units was published in the Federal Register on Friday, April 13th. The proposed rule would establish a CO2 emission limit of 1,000 lb/MWh based on a rolling 12-month average. Typically, NSPS applies to sources that commence construction after the date the rule is proposed. However, in ensuring that the proposed rule contained something to offend everyone, EPA conjured up a new twist to the "applicability date" of the proposed NSPS. In a move that surely has the environmental groups beside themselves, EPA has exempted from NSPS requirements a newly defined group of sources "transitional sources." According to the proposed rule, a "transitional source" is (1) an electric utility generating unit that (2) has received a complete permit that meets the requirements of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program and (3) commences construction prior to April 13, 2013. On the other hand, the electric utility industry is absolutely apoplectic over EPA's combining of fossil-fuel-fired steam generating (Subpart Da) units with stationary combustion turbines (Subpart KKKK unit). Of course, this is the only pretense the Agency can offer with respect to the proposed CO2 limit being "adequately demonstrated." It's a shame that all parties will have to wait a year or so until EPA finalizes the rule before litigation can begin!

A copy of the proposed rulemaking as published in the Federal Register can be found in our FTP library.


EGU MACT Rule Technical Corrections (4/3/12)

Last week, the EPA Administrator signed a final rule addressing various technical corrections to the EGU MACT rule (which EPA has dubbed the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards "MATS" rule) that was originally published in the Federal Register on February 16, 2012.  The changes generally only correct typographical errors and acknowledge some errors in the preamble.  A copy of the signed technical corrections can be found in our FTP library

 

EPA Proposes QA/QC Procedures for Opacity Analyzers (2/24/12)

On February 14, 2012, EPA published Procedure 3 in the Federal Register both as a direct final rule and parallel proposed rule. Procedure 3 is intended to define ongoing QA/QC for continuous opacity monitoring systems (COMS) that are used for compliance. Comments on the proposed procedure are due by March 15, 2012. This rulemaking effort has caught many off guard. Even though the Agency first proposed QA/QC for COMS twenty years ago in 1992, the revised proposal that it subsequently published in 2003 languished. EPA never finalized that proposal after receiving comments. Now nine years later, EPA is suggesting the potential of a direct final rule that would become would effective on April 16, 2012 if no adverse comments are received.

In addition to the daily calibration requirements, the Procedure 3 proposal includes quarterly optical alignment checks, filter audit checks and zero compensation assessments as well as annual zero alignment checks. These proposed core QA/QC specifications may, in general, be reasonable but there are a number of details the proposal, such as the 95% data capture requirement that that pose problems and are inappropriate for such a procedure. There are still references to Performance Specification 1 that could be problematic for COMS installed prior to 2001 as well concerns that the applicability language may not be specific enough keep sources with blanket references to Appendix F in their permits or state regulations from being required to comply with Procedure 3.

A copy of the Procedure 3 proposal can be found in our FTP library

EPA Publishes Final EGU MACT and NSPS Rules (2/16/12)

On February 16, 2012, EPA's final rule -- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from Coal- and Oil-fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units ("EGU MACT") was published in the Federal Register.  Within the same volume, EPA also issued its final rule on revisions to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Da), Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Db), and Small Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Dc).


While RMB has discovered no discernible differences between the document Administrator Jackson signed on or about December 16, 2011 and the February 16th version appearing in the Federal Register, the significance of the publication date is that the "regulatory clock" has now begun to tick.  For example, the effective date of the EGU MACT rule is 60 days from publication or April 16, 2012.  If an affected unit is unable to obtain any compliance extensions, then the 3-year compliance deadline is April 16, 2015.  Also, Section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act states that any petitions seeking either administrative or judicial review of a final EPA rule must be filed with 60 days after the rule is published in Federal Register.

A copy of the final rulemaking as published in the Federal Register can be found in our FTP library


RMB EUEC Presentations Available (2/5/12)

Steve Norfleet's Establishing Reasonable BACT/BART Limits presentation and Russell Berry's Field Test Programs to Evaluate EGU MACT Compliance Strategies presentation that were recently given at the EUEC conference are now available under Papers and Presentations.

 

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on Hold (1/2/12)

On December 30, 2011, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).  The court's "last minute" order stops the Agency from implementing the rule just days before it was set to take effect on January 1, 2012.  The brief two-page order does not pose an opinion on the merits of the rule but instead holds that the "petitioners have satisfied the standards required for a stay pending court review." 

While the state of Texas has been the most vocal opponent, CSAPR has been legally challenged by several states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) as well as private companies in over forty different federal cases, which the court has consolidated under this action.  The court's order stays any action on CSAPR until the resolution of the case and suggests a potential April 2012 hearing.  In the interim, the ruling requires EPA to continue to administer the Clean Air Interstate Rule.
 

EPA Issues Final EGU MACT and NSPS Rules (12/22/11)

On Wednesday, EPA released the final National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from Coal- and Oil-fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units (a.k.a. "EGU MACT") and final revisions to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) in Subpart Da (as well as some similar changes in Subparts D, Db and DC). The Administrator signed the final Utility MACT Rule and NSPS changes late last week. EPA was subject to a Consent Decree that originally required the standards to be finalized by November 16, 2011. Shortly before the deadline, EPA was granted a one-month extension (December 16, 2011) based on a motion filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of EPA.

The Utility MACT rule affects all coal-fired, coke and oil-fired boilers that generated greater than 25 MW and will impose significant emission reduction requirements and compliance costs for many units. Unlike the Industrial Boiler MACT Rule that affects similar non-Utility sources but which is still being evaluated "under reconsideration," EPA is treating the Utility MACT Rule as a final rule. Compliance will be required within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register for new units and within three years (and 60 days) after publication for existing units.

  • Elimination of Total PM Standard . One of the most significant changes in the final rule is that EPA has dropped total PM as a surrogate for non-mercury metallic hazardous air pollutants (HAPS) in favor of a filterable PM limit. The filterable PM limit for existing coal-fired sources is 0.03 lb/mmBtu. For new units, however, the filterable PM limit is a very stringent 0.007 lb/MWh. The Agency also added a filterable PM option for oil fired-sources.
  • Reduced Stack Test Frequency. The frequency of stack testing under some compliance options has been reduced from monthly or bi-monthly to quarterly.
  • PM CEMS Options. PM CEMS can be used to demonstrate compliance, but the Agency has added provisions to allow sources treat particulate monitors as continuous parameter monitoring systems (CPMS) rather than CEMS. However, by treating the output as indirect indicator, sources would be subject to more frequent stack testing and could forgo significant compliance margin since the option still requires sources to stay below whatever value happened to be measured during the most recent compliance test.
  • Emission Limit Changes. EPA states that it considered many of the comments that it received and corrected various problems in the way that it calculated the proposed emission limit. Nonetheless, while some of the final limits did vary somewhat from the proposed limits, many remain the same or are similar to the originally proposed limits. The new unit limits, in particular, still pose achievability (and measurability) concerns.
  • Operating Parameter Monitoring. EPA has eliminated all of the operating parameter monitoring and fuel monitoring requirements with the exception of PM CMPS and some options for oil-fired sources. The Agency also indicates it is applying work practice standards in lieu of requiring compliance the limits during startup and shutdown periods. However, the Agency's definition of startup and shutdown are rigid and not consistent with the industry's practice. EPA defines that startup to ends whenever the unit generates any electricity. Likewise, shutdown only ends when no electricity is produced (or there is no heat input). All control equipment must be operated any time when the unit operates with the exception of only dry scrubbers and SCR where some concession is given to "normal operation" (i.e., operating temperature issues). The rule explicitly states that only natural gas or distillate oil may be fired during startup and shutdown periods.  
  • New Coal Subcategory Definitions and New Limited Use Subcategory . EPA replaced the coal subcategories in the proposed rule that were based on coal heating value with two similar subcategories based on coal rank. EPA included a new subcategory for limited use liquid oil-fired units with an annual capacity factor less than 8%. These units will be subject to a work practice standard consisting of a periodic boiler tune-up.

Copies of the proposed and rulemaking can be found in our FTP library.

EPA Issues Proposed IB-MACT Reconsideration Rule (12/2/11)

On December 2, 2011, EPA proposed changes to both the major source and area source IB-MACT Rules, the CISWI Rule, and the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials (NHSM) Rule. EPA was expected to issue further revisions of these interrelated rules by October 31, 2011, according to an EPA announcement earlier this year. The rules contain a number of significant revisions based on additional comments and data received following publication and the simultaneous notice of reconsideration on March 3, 2011. EPA intends to finalize this reconsideration by spring 2012 although this self-imposed deadline could change based on further legal action in the pending case before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

EPA will take public comment on this rulemaking for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA intends to hold a public hearing on these proposed rules although further details will be provided by EPA in the near future. Copies of the proposed rulemaking can be found in our FTP library.

EGU MACT Date Officially Extended (10/27/11)

On October 7, 2011, the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) filed a motion in the D.C. District Court requesting the Court to modify the Consent Decree by extending the deadline one year from November 16, 2011 to November 16, 2012 for EPA to sign its final rule establishing emission standards for coal- and oil-fired electric generating units (EGUs). On October 10, 2011, twenty-five (25) States and the Territory of Guam filed as amici curiae in support of the UARG petition. The amici curiae States explained that they are responsible for: (1) issuing air permits to coal- and oil-fired EGUs under state laws and the Clean Air Act; (2) regulating and ensuring the availability of sufficient electric power within their borders and (3) ensuring the health, welfare and economic well-being of their citizens, all of which are at least in part dependent on the availability of reliable and affordable electric power.

Neither UARG nor the amici curiae States are asking the Court to make a decision on the proper level of the emission standards, which ultimately will be determined by EPA. Rather, UARG and amici curiae States simply ask the Court to allow EPA to "take a step back" and provide a reasonable period of time for the Agency to respond to the voluminous comments received during the public comment period, to attempt to fix serious technical flaws acknowledged by EPA, and then to more carefully consider the issuance of a major rule with far-reaching consequences.

On October 21, 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion, on behalf of EPA, in opposition to the UARG motion. However, with agreement from Plaintiffs, DOJ stipulated to a 30-day extension to the rulemaking deadline. On October 24, 2011, D.C. District Court Judge Collyer denied the UARG motion without prejudice and approved the parties' Stipulation, which extends the deadline for EPA to sign its final EGU MACT rule until December 16, 2011.


EPA Announces New Timeline for IB-MACT Rule (6/27/11)

On June 24, 2011, EPA announced that it intends to sign proposed reconsideration rules for CISWI, IB-MACT, and the industrial boiler area source rule by October 31, 2011 and final rules by April 30, 2012. These rules are currently under administrative reconsideration and, until now, the timeline for issuing the proposed reconsideration rules has been uncertain. Note that EPA's recent announcement does not change the effective dates for any of the rules. On May 16, 2011, EPA stayed the effective dates of the major source IB-MACT and CISWI rules indefinitely although the effective date for the area source rule remains the same (May 20, 2011).

Proposed EGU MACT Rule Comment Period Extended (6/21/11)

In a press release today, EPA announced that it will extend the public comment period on the proposed EGU MACT Rule by 30 days, which make August 4, 20011 the new deadline for submitting comments.  EPA explicitly stated, however, that the extension would "not impact the timeline for issuing the final standards."

An extension of the comment period was certainly warranted, but EPA managed to slight just about everyone in the process of giving it.  By stating that the extension was made "in response to requests from members of Congress," EPA gave no credence to the many others (states, industry, etc.) that also requested an extension on valid technical grounds.  EPA even slighted members of Congress by granting only a 30-day extension instead of the 60-day extension that was requested.  The most flagrant slight was to the "robust public comment process" to which the Agency gave empty lip service.  The notion that EPA will be able to meaningfully respond to the expected volume of comments and resolve the myriad issues with the proposal within its the originally planned time frame is fantasy.

While we understand that EPA is under a court-ordered deadline of November 16, 2011 to issue the final rules, EPA can and should renegotiate this deadline as they have done previously with the proposed rules.  Failing to even attempt to extend the deadline shows a disregard of the public comment portion of the rulemaking process in favor of an arbitrary deadline negotiated by the Agency with a handful of special interest groups.  The public comment process is not just about people simply "having their say" but, more importantly, is about EPA thoughtfully considering those comments and integrating the input as appropriate to create better rules. The process is definitely not served by the Agency's obstinate stance or a hastily proposed and finalized rule.

EPA Issues Stay of IB-MACT and CISWI Rules (5/16/11)

On May 16, 2011, EPA issued administrative stays of the final CISWI Rule and Major Source IB-MACT Rule. This action delays the effective dates of these rules, which were originally May 20, 2011, until the proceedings for judicial review are completed or EPA completes its reconsideration of the rules, whichever is earlier. Note that this action does not alter the effective date of the final Area Source IB-MACT Rule, which is also under reconsideration.

Since promulgation EPA has received a number of petitions for reconsideration of various issues associated with these final rules. EPA is planning to issue a Notice of Reconsideration that identifies the specific issues included in these petitions for which EPA has granted reconsideration. As part of this action, EPA is extending the deadline for submitting comments on the issues they identified in the Notice of Proposed Reconsideration (March 21, 2011) as well as those additional issues in the (as yet unpublished) Notice of Reconsideration until July 15, 2011. Note that this action does not alter the May 20, 2011 deadline for submission of administrative petitions or filings for judicial review.

Proposed EGU MACT and NSPS Revisions Published (5/3/11)

On May 3, the proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from Coal- and Oil-fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units ("EGU MACT") were published in the Federal Register.  Within the same rulemaking package, EPA also published proposed revisions to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Da), Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Db), and Small Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Dc).

Comments on the proposed EGU MACT rule and associated NSPS revisions are due by July 5, 2011.  EPA will also hold public hearings on these proposed rules in Chicago and Philadelphia on May 24, 2011 and in Atlanta on May 26, 2011.  Further details on these hearings can be found in the April 28 Federal Register notice. EPA is subject to a Consent Decree, which requires the Agency to issue the final rule by November 16, 2011.

A copy of the proposed rulemaking can be found in our FTP library.  The EGU MACT rule will have significant impact on the electric utility industry, both for exisiting as well as potential new units.  RMB currently is engaged with several utilities in a project designed to evaluate many technical aspect of the proposed rule and help its clients develop compliance strategies and provide meaningful comments on the proposed rule.  If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Steve Norfleet at (919) 791-3123.

Petroleum Refinery ICR (4/8/11)

On March 28, 2011 EPA received approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to carry out a massive information collection request (ICR) for petroleum refineries. According to EPA, the ICR is necessary to reevaluate emission standards for the source category. This is a four component ICR with very rapidly approaching deadlines:

  • Component 1 (Questionnaire): due May 31, 2011 for all refineries
  • Component 2 (Emission Inventory) due June 30, 2011 for all refineries
  • Component 3 (Distillation Feed Sampling) due August 31, 2011 for all refineries
  • Component 4 (Testing and ERT reporting) due August 31, 2011 for 88 selected sources.

In 2010, RMB was involved in assisting over 50 facilities respond to the electric generating units (EGU) ICR. The EGU ICR involved similar reporting tools for Components 1-3 and identical testing methods and reporting tools for Component 4. RMB is uniquely qualified to provide technical support for virtually all aspects of the refinery ICR. RMB is familiar with many different data collection systems and is able to reduce the collected data to the format required by the EPA reporting tools, which are not necessarily intuitive to new users. RMB is qualified to prepare site-specific test plans, address sampling and analytical concerns during the testing, communicate necessary modifications to stack test methodology where appropriate, ensure that proper process data is collected, and assist in the ERT submittals of test data. Refineries must be aware that the quality of the data obtained and reported is of upmost importance since it will be used to establish future regulatory limits. Past experience has shown that poor quality, low level emission test data has resulted in proposed regulatory emission limits that are not achievable in practice. 

Final IB-MACT Rules and Notice of Reconsideration Published (3/21/11)

On March 21, the final IB-MACT Rules for Area sources and Major sources, CISWI NSPS, and DSW Rules were published in the Federal Register. Also published was EPA's Notice of Reconsideration of the final rules. EPA is taking comments on specific elements of the final rules including the following issues related to the area and major source IB MACT rules:

  • Subcategory revisions
  • Fuel specification for the 'Gas-1' subcategory
  • Work practice standard for limited use boilers
  • Application of GACT for area source biomass- and oil-fired boilers
  • Affirmative defense provisions for malfunction events
  • Carbon monoxide monitoring requirements
  • Dioxin/furan emission limit and testing requirements
  • Application of GACT for PM for area source oil-fired boilers

EPA has also invited petitions for reconsideration of other areas of the final rules. The deadline for submission of comments and petitions for reconsideration is May 20, 2011. Please be aware that the reconsideraton process does not change the compliance deadlines of the rules. For sources affected by the IB-MACT rules, the compliance deadline for existing sources is March 21, 2014 and the compliance deadline for new sources is May 20, 2011 or upon startup, whichever is later. Copies of the final rules can be found in our FTP library.

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Deadline Extended (3/21/11)

On March 18, 2011, EPA published revisions to 40 CFR Part 98 in the Federal Register to officially extend the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting deadline until September 30, 2011. The rule also extends the e-GRRT registration deadline until August 1, 2011 which is 60 days prior to extended reporting deadline.

EPA Issues Proposed EGU MACT and NSPS Revisions (3/16/11)

On March 16, EPA issued the proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from Coal- and Oil-fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units ("EGU MACT") and proposed revisions to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Fossil-Fuel-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Da), Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Db), and Small Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Steam Generating Units (NSPS Subpart Dc).

The proposed EGU MACT Rule is considered the replacement for the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), which was vacated by the D.C Circuit Court in 2008 on the basis that EPA violated the Clean Air Act by removing EGUs from the list of units required to be regulated under Section 112 of the Act (e.g. NESHAP). CAMR, which was regulated under the NSPS and applied only to mercury emissions, provided for an allowance-based system similar to the one used in the Acid Raid Program. However, the proposed EGU MACT, which is regulated under the NESHAP, applies to all hazardous air pollutants (or surrogates thereof), including mercury. Unlike CAMR, EGU MACT sets emissions standards for the various HAPs (or surrogates) based on the application of "Maximum Achievable Control Technology" (MACT) with no option for allowance trading. EPA was subject to a Consent Decree to issue the proposed rulemaking by March 16, 2011 and a final rule by November 16, 2011.

In conjunction with the proposed EGU MACT rulemaking, EPA is also proposing revisions to the NSPS for EGUs (Subpart Da) including new emissions standards for SO2, NOx, and PM. These revisions are the result of the voluntary remand of the 2006 amendments. EPA indicated that the timing of the NSPS amendments was designed to allow electric utilities to consider both rules simultaneously in evaluating compliance strategies. EPA also modified other parts of the NSPS (Subparts Da, Db, and Dc), including deleting vacated provisions and harmonizing certain monitoring, testing and recordkeeping requirements.

EPA will take public comment on this rulemaking for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA will also hold public hearings on these proposed rules in Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, and Philadelphia, PA. Further details on these hearings will be provided by EPA in the near future. Copies of the proposed rulemaking can be found in our FTP library.

40 CFR Part 75 Revisions (3/10/11)

On March 10, 2011, EPA issued revisions to 40 CFR Part 75 and has submitted the rule for publication in the Federal Register. There are three primary revisions to Part 75. First, EPA removed the mercury monitoring, record-keeping and reporting provisions associated with the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) which was vacated by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2008. This will likely cause further confusion for State-specific mercury rules which simply referenced Part 75 for the installation, certification and operation of mercury monitoring systems.

Secondly, Part 75 now includes a requirement that all Part 75 relative accuracy test audits (RATAs), Appendix E NO x correlation testing and low mass emission (LME) unit testing be conducted by an Air Emissions Testing Body (AETB). This requirement will become effective 365 days after the date that the rule is published in the Federal Register. This requirement applies to both test contractors as well as internal testing groups.

Thirdly, Part 75 includes a requirement that Part 75 affected sources purchase EPA Protocol Gases from manufacturers that participate in EPA's Protocol Gas Verification Program (PGVP) (or from a reseller that sells unaltered gas from a PGVP participant). This requirement will become effective 60 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. However, the rule does allow "EPA Protocol gas cylinders certified by or ordered from any production site prior to 60 days from publication of the rule in the Federal Register to be used up."

A copy of the 40 CFR Part revisions is available in our FTP library.

GHG Reporting Deadline Extended (3/1/11)


EPA has announced that it is in the process of extending the deadline for reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data under Part 98.  Despite receiving numerous comments that the proposed schedule was too aggressive, EPA had pushed ahead with the requirement to begin collecting GHG data in 2010.  The emissions data from last year were originally to be reported by March 31 but EPA now "plans to have the final uploading tool available this summer, with the data scheduled to be published later this year."  The Agency hopes that the extension will allow industry the"opportunity to test the tool" prior to reporting.  EPA indicates that more details will be provided shortly and that it "will ensure that this reporting extension is in effect before the original reporting deadline."

EPA Issues Final IB-MACT and CISWI Rules (2/23/11)


On February 23, EPA unveiled the final IB-MACT Rules for area sources and major sources and the final CISWI NSPS and revised definition of solid waste.  At the same time, EPA also issued the final NSPS for sewage sludge incinerators.  As EPA stated in their press release after the January 20 court ruling extending the deadline for the final rules, the final IB-MACT rule contains a number of significant changes from the proposed rule although not all of these changes are good news to many industrial sources.  The following is a summary of several key issues based on our initial review of the new rule:

  • Startup/shutdown - Perhaps the most significant change in the final rule is that the numeric standards no longer apply during periods of startup and shutdown.  Instead, the rule imposes a work practice standard for those periods of operation.
  • New subcategories - The new rule includes a single solid-fuel subcategory for the fuel-based pollutants (PM, HCl, Hg), which was intended to benefit biomass sources.
  • New alternative standards - The rule now includes alternative output based standards for each pollutant (lb/mmBtu of steam).
  • Changes in emissions standards for new/existing units -
    • New biomass units, while the limits for mercury and CO (for FBCs) increased significantly, the PM, HCl, and CO limits (for stokers/suspension burners) decreased even further.
    • For existing biomass units, while the limits for PM, HCl, Hg, and CO (for FBCs) increased significantly, the CO limits decreased slightly for suspension burners and stokers.
    • For existing PC-fired coal units, all units showed significant increases.
    • For existing liquid-fired units, the PM and CO limits increased and the HCl and mercury limits decreased.
    • All D/F limits were about the same or increased significantly. However, the fact that there are numeric standards for D/F instead of a work practice standard suggests that EPA may not have properly handled non-detect values in their analysis.
  • Risk-based compliance alternatives - In the final rule, EPA elected not to include health-based compliance alternatives for any of the standards. 
  • CEMS - EPA removed the requirement for CO CEMS but retained the PM CEMS requirement for large units > 250 mmBtu/hr.  Compliance is based on a 30-day average instead of a 24-hour average as proposed.
  • ERT Reporting - EPA maintained the requirement to use the ERT software for submitting compliance test data.

EPA plans to address a number of unresolved issues with the final rules through the reconsideration process. A copy of the unpublished final rules and information regarding EPA's notice of reconsideration can be found in our FTP library.  For further information, please contact Rob Barton at 919-791-3129.

EPA Receives One Month Extension For Final IB MACT Rules (1/21/11)


On January 20, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a one month extension of the deadline for issuing the final CISWI Rule and IB-MACT Rules for area sources and major sources. The new deadline is February 21, 2011. The highly anticipated ruling dismissed EPA's request to extend the deadline by allowing reproposal of the rules by June 1, 2011 and finalizing the rules by April 13, 2012. In the event the Court did not grant the extension for reproposal, EPA also requested an alternate deadline of June 15, 2011 to address the remaining comments and finalize the rules. In the ruling, the Court tossed aside EPA's argument for reproposal on the grounds that EPA did not provide sufficient evidence that it would be impossible to promulgate"substantively adequate regulations" by the original deadline. One of EPA's main arguments for the extension was that the additional time would result in more defensible rules due to significant issues in the proposed rules that were raised during the comment period. However, the Court stated that EPA did not actually assert that the rules were flawed or inadequate but rather that they were concerned that the rules would be challenged. The Court agreed with Sierra Club in that such issues could be addressed through administrative reconsideration rather than reproposal, which would allow the effective date of the final rule to remain in place. The Court also dismissed EPA's request for an alternative deadline to address the remaining comments, stating that EPA did not provide sufficient evidence that such an extension was warranted. The Court stated that EPA did not provide an indication of how many of the original 4,800 comments were significant and had yet to be addressed nor did EPA provide any details on current or potential resource allocation that might be relevant in considering an alternative deadline. Nonetheless, the Court decided to provide an additional month for EPA to complete their response to comments.

 

EPA Receives Brief Extension of IB-MACT Deadline (1/12/11)


On January 12, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered a five-day extension of the deadline to promulgate the final CISWI Rule and IB-MACT Rules for area sources and major sources. The deadline was moved to January 21, 2011 to allow the court additional time to consider EPA's December 7th motion to extend the deadline for issuing final rules. In the December 7, 2010 motion EPA requested to repropose the rules by June 1, 2011 and finalize the rules by April 13, 2012. EPA requested an alternate deadline of June 15, 2011 to finalize the rules in the event the Court does not grant the extension.

EPA Requests Extension to Repropose IB-MACT Rule (12/7/10)


On December 7, EPA requested an extension of the existing deadline of January 16, 2011 to promulgate the final CISWI Rule and IB-MACT Rules for area sources and major sources. EPA stated that the additional time was necessary to address the more than 4,800 comments that were received on the proposed rules and to review a significant amount of additional data that was submitted during the comment period. EPA indicated that some of the comments raise issues that were not originally considered during the initial rulemaking. Because these issues may substantially affect the final rule, EPA is "requesting to repropose" the rules so that the final rules are logical outgrowths of the proposals. If the Court grants the request the deadline for the revised proposals will be June 1, 2011 and the deadline for promulgation of final emissions standards will be April 13, 2012. In the event that the Court does not grant the request for extension to repropose the rules, EPA has requested an alternative deadline of June 15, 2011 to complete the final rules. EPA has been granted an order to expedite a decision on the extension request and a final ruling on the request is expected by the end of the year.

 

Proposed Revision to Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (8/12/10)


On August 11, 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency published proposed revisions to the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas (40 CFR Part 98) in the Federal Register.  Comments on the proposed revisions are due no later than September 27, 2010.  A copy of the proposed rule revisions are available in our FTP library.  Please contact one of RMB's staff to learn more about our greenhouse gas (GHG) related consulting services.

Proposed Transport Rule Published in Federal Register (8/6/10)


On August 2, 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency published the proposed Transport Rule (in 40 CFR Part 97) as well as associated proposed Federal Implementation Plans (FIPS) in the Federal Register.  The proposed 40 CFR Part 97 rules include:

  • Subpart AAAAA - TR NOx Annual Trading Program
  • Subpart BBBBB - TR NOx Ozone Season Trading Program
  • Subpart CCCCC - TR SO2 Group 1 Trading Program
  • Subpart DDDDD - TR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program

A copy of the proposed rule is available in our FTP library.  Comments on the proposed rule and FIPS are due on or before October 1, 2010.

Digital Camera Opacity Project (7/31/10)

After considerable debate and negotiation, the ASTM D-22.03 committee has approved a test method that utilizes digital cameras and associated software to make stack opacity determinations. The method is presently restricted to stacks less than 7 feet in diameter.  The method was developed to mimic EPA Method 9, and does not take full advantage of the technology offered by the digital cameras available today; rather, it uses the same acceptance criteria applied to human observers qualified via "smoke school."  We believe that the method should be able to stand alone technically as well as be a Method 9 equivalent.

EPRI is currently looking for funders to support a project that will focus on developing data suitable for the precision and bias calculations mandated by ASTM.  The project will use the commercial software with multiple digital cameras compared to a certified transmissometer at a "smoke generator" used for Method 9 training.  The smoke generator testing will be modified from standard Method 9 training.  The data generated will cover the full range required by Method 9 but will concentrate on the low 0-20% and 20-40% opacity ranges more typical of steam generating boilers.  Multiple opacity readings will be made at the lower opacity levels to generate a robust statistical data set.  The smoke generator test program will be followed by field testing on tall large-diameter stacks with certified opacity monitors.  Field studies will cover both wet and dry stack applications.

The project will be conducted with advice and consultation with the ASTM D-22.03 committee working group on data and procedure needs to support future modification of the current ASTM Digital Opacity Method.  The Defense Department is still very interested in developing the ASTM method further to include fugitive opacity measurements.  To provide maximum project efficiency, we will also be consulting with the Defense contractor on its efforts to expand the method to include area/fugitive opacity measurements.

For the full write up on this project, please click this link: Digital Camera Opacity Project

Proposed Transport Rule (7/7/10)


On July 6, 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Transport Rule which is designed to replace the current Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR).  On December 23, 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted EPA's petition to remand CAIR to the Agency to be "fixed" rather than be vacated, which was the Court's original (July 11, 2008) decision.  The CAIR requirements will remain in effect until the Transport Rule becomes final.  The Transport Rule affects electric generating units (EGUs) in 31 states and the District of Columbia.  EGUs in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma are now affected under the Transport Rule but were not previously affected in CAIR.


RMB notes that the proposed Transport Rule has not been published in the Federal Register.  However, comments on the rule are due no later than sixty (60) days after publication in the Federal Register.  A copy of the proposed Transport Rule is located in our FTP library

Proposed CISWI and IB-MACT Rules Published (6/7/10)

On June 4, 2010, the IB-MACT, CISWI, and CISWI Definitions ("Definition of Solid Waste") Rules were published in the Federal Register. In a related action, EPA has also issued a notice of public hearings and an extension of the public comment period for all rules to 60 days. The deadline for written comments is now August 3, 2010. The schedule for public hearings and registration deadlines (for those presenting oral testimony) are as follows:

Location

Date

Registration Deadline

Arlington, Virginia

6/15/2010

6/11/2010

Houston, Texas

6/22/2010

6/18/2010

Los Angeles, California

6/22/2010

6/18/2010

A copy of the Federal Register versions of the rules and the EPA notice of the comment period extension are available in our FTP library.

40 CFR Part 75 Proposed Revisions (4/30/10)

On April 29, 2010, EPA issued proposed revisions to 40 CFR Part 75. The proposed rule revisions are expected to be published in the Federal Register in the near future. A preliminary version is included in our FTP library. One primary revision is the removal of all requirements for mercury (Hg) continuous emission monitoring systems, including Appendix K for sorbent trap Hg CEMS. Additionally, EPA has reintroduced requirements for Air Emission Testing Bodies (AETB) for conducting relative accuracy test audits (RATAs). EPA has also proposed changes to the Protocol Gas Verification Program designed to improve the accuracy of EPA protocol gases. There will be a 30-day comment period following the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

EPA Proposes CISWI and IB-MACT Rules (4/30/10)

On April 29, 2010, EPA proposed the long-awaited IB-MACT Rules for both major and minor sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). In parallel, EPA also proposed the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units (CISWI) and the revised CISWI Definitions Rule. These recent rulemaking developments will have significant implications for many industries (including electric utilities) particularly those with biomass-fired sources.

The proposed IB-MACT Rule includes eleven (11) subcategories for new and existing units based on fuel type and boiler design.  Nine of these subcategories include emissions limits for PM (not including condensables), mercury (Hg), hydrogen chloride (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), and dioxin/furans (D/F) and two of the subcategories include work practice standards. Work practice standards are included for existing units with heat input capacity < 10 mmBtu/hr and new/existing units firing > 90% natural gas or refinery gas or "Metal Process Furnaces". Emissions limits are included for new and existing units for the following subcategories:  

  • Coal: Stoker, Fluidized Bed, and Pulverized Coal
  • Biomass: Stoker, Fluidized Bed, Suspension Burner/Dutch oven, Fuel Cell)
  • Gas (includes all gases except for natural gas and refinery gas)
  • Liquid

As expected, the proposed emissions limits for PM, Hg, and HCl are significantly lower than the vacated rule. While the rule does allow for a fuel-based compliance option, it is unlikely that most sources will meet the proposed limits based on fuel analysis. In fact, many sources will need to install additional controls. In addition, the new rule does not include a risk-based assessment option for HCl and manganese (e.g., "Health Based Compliance Alterative") that would have allowed many sources to comply with the emissions standards for total selected metals (TSM) and HCl under the vacated rule.

Of note, 40 CFR Part 63.7525 (the IB-MACT Rule) requires the installation of a CO/O2 continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) for boilers and process heaters with a heat input capacity greater than or equal to 100 mmBtu/hr. Additionally, boilers and process heaters with a heat input capacity greater than or equal to 250 mmBtu/hr that combust coal, biomass or residual oil are required to install a PM CEMS.

The rules are expected to be published in the Federal Register within the next few days. EPA is proposing a 45-day comment period for all rules, which begins on the date of publication in the Federal Register. Copies of the proposed rules are available in our FTP library. Additional information can be found on EPA's website: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion/actions.html. Also, we will post more information on our website regarding these rules as it becomes available. Please contact Rob Barton at 919-791-3129 for more information.

Electric Utility MACT Deadlines Finalized (4/15/10)


On April 15, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted EPA's Motion to enter into a consent decree with a group of environmental plaintiffs (e.g., Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, etc.) regarding the plaintiff's nondiscretionary duty lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, EPA failed to discharge a nondiscretionary duty by failing to promulgate final maximum achievable control technology emission standards for coal- and oil-fired electric generating units (EGUs), which the plaintiffs contend EPA is required to do under Section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The consent decree requires EPA to (1) sign for publication in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking setting forth EPA's proposed CAA ยง 112(d) emissions standards for coal- and oil-fired EGUs by March 16, 2011 and (2) sign for publication in the Federal Register a notice of final rulemaking setting forth EPA's final CAA ยง 112(d) emissions standards for coal-and oil-fired EGUs by November 16, 2011.

CAMD Posts Second Draft Policy Manual (4/13/10)

On April 12, 2010, the Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD) reissued a draft Part 75 Emissions Monitoring Policy Manual. The Policy Manual now incorporates the proposed revisions that were published on July 7, 2009. One major change is that Section 9, "Bias", has been removed and subsequent sections renumbered. Comments on the draft manual are due by April 30, 2010. A copy of the draft Policy Manual is available in our FTP library.

Extension of Industrial Boiler MACT Deadline (4/13/10)


On April 13, 2010, EPA received limited extensions of the deadlines for the proposed Industrial Boiler MACT, Area Source MACT, and CISWI Rules.  There was no change in the deadline for the proposed Gold Mining MACT,which is due on April 15, 2010.  All three of these rules were to be proposed on April 15, 2010. 

The revised deadlines are now as follows:

  • Industrial Boiler MACT and CISWI Rules - April 29, 2010 (2 weeks)
  • Area Source MACT Rule - May 14, 2010 (1 month)


EPA Addresses MACT Hammer (4/1/10)


On March 30, 2010, EPA proposed several revisions to 40 CFR 63 to address the issue of Section 112(j) (aka "The MACT Hammer") applicability for sources subject to a previously vacated MACT rule. Under Section 112(j), state permitting agencies are required to implement case-by-case MACT determinations for affected units at major sources of HAPs when EPA fails to issue a MACT standard in a timely manner. Section 112(j) was originally designed as a "back stop" to ensure that sources were subject to some form or HAPs regulation in the event that EPA did not develop federal MACT standards in the timeframe provided for in the Clean Air Act.  The applicability and implementation of Section 112(j) has been unclear for many sources because of the recent vacature of several federal MACT rules.

The proposed revisions can be summarized as follows:

  • Section 112(j) applies in the event that a promulgated MACT rule is subsequently vacated. In other words, the vacatur is equivalent to EPA never having issued the rule in the first place.
  • For sources subject to any of the recently vacated MACT rules (i.e. "Boiler MACT"), sources must submit a permit application for case-by-case MACT determination within 90 days of promulgation of the proposed rule changes OR the date by which a permitting authority has requested in writing a Section 112(j) Part 2 permit application (whichever is earlier).
  • In the future, any sources subject to a federal MACT rule that is subsequently vacated must submit a Section 112(j) permit application within 18 months of the vacatur.
  • Part 1 and Part 2 of the Section 112(j) permit application are now combined into a single application.  No other content changes have been made.
  • If a source has been issued a final permit containing a MACT standard under Section 112(j) and EPA subsequently develops a federal standard that is more stringent than the existing standard, then the permitting agency must incorporate the new federal MACT standard in the next Title V permit renewal.
  • If a source has been issued a final permit containing a MACT standard under Section 112(j) and EPA subsequently develops a federal standard that is less stringent than the existing standard, then the permitting agency has the option of retaining the existing standard.  The permitting authority is not required to incorporate any less stringent emissions standard in the Title V permit.
  • If EPA promulgates a new MACT standard after a permit application has been approved (but permit is not finalized), then the permitting authority is not required to change the emissions limitation to reflect the new standard if the permitting authority decides the level of control in the permit is "substantially" as effective as the federal standard.

These proposed revisions were expected and will not require any further action if affected sources have already submitted Parts 1 and 2 of the Section 112(j) application.  Many sources have already submitted complete 112(j) applications although most state agencies have not moved ahead with implementation.  If you are an affected source subject to any of the recently vacated MACT rules and have not submitted BOTH parts of the Section 112(j) permit application, please be aware of the above deadlines for Section 112(j) application submittal.

RMB notes that EPA's latest action does not provide any real clarification for sources that may be affected by any of the recently vacated MACT rules since implementation will ultimately be controlled by the state permitting agency.  It is likely that many state agencies will delay implementation as long as possible until EPA finalizes new MACT rules.

Comments must be received on or before April 29, 2010 on the proposed rule changes.  If a public hearing is requested by April 14, 2010, the comment period will be extended until May 14, 2010.  Please our FTP library for a copy of the Federal Register notice.

 

ICR Approved!  Section 114 Letters Sent (1/27/10)


On December 24, 2009 EPA received approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to carry out a massive information request (ICR).  According to EPA, the ICR is necessary to support the development of  a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rulemaking for electric generating units (EGUs).  As a result, EPA has sent a slew of Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 114 letters to affected sources.  In addition, EPA has posted the Agency's response to comments from the November 10, 2009 submission to OMB, along with additional EPA supporting materials in the public docket established by EPA for this ICR.  This docket is available for public viewing online at http://www.regulations.gov/ under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234.As mentioned in an earlier web post, this is a two-part ICR with the first part being a survey of all coal- and oil-fired EGUs.  EPA plans to allow owner/operators 90 days from the receipt of a Section 114 letter to respond to the survey.

The second part is a major emission testing program.  This program requires owner/operators to complete the required emission testing and submit specified electronic reports to EPA within 6 to 8 months.  EPA's final estimated cost for this ICR is approximately $76 million with approximately $67 million estimated to conduct the required emission testing.  RMB is uniquely qualified to provide technical support for virtually all aspects of the ICR, given our familiarity with the rule development process, EPA reference methods, and extensive experience with various EPA reporting requirements.  Since the vacature of the original IB MACT Rule in 2007, RMB has been participating as a stakeholder in the development of the new IB MACT Rule.  Recently, RMB has provided comments on the ICR guidance document that was submitted along with the Section 114 letter to affected sources and was a participant in several EPA webinars to address a number of issues associated with the IB MACT ICR.  RMB was intimately involved, on behalf of the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), with reviewing and preparing technical comments on EPA's electric utility ICR.  In addition, RMB personnel have years of field and review experience with the proposed test methods, and RMB has been retained by many utility and industrial clients to prepare and review source test protocols and reports for submittal to regulatory agencies. 


RMB's ICR Services

Parts I & II Preparation and Submittal

Agency Notifications

Test Protocol Development and Review

Bid Specifications

Bid Evaluation Guidelines

Test Coordination and Observation

Quality Assurance (QA) of Test Results

Data Entry with EPA's ERT Software

Final Report Reviews


Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule Update (12/08/09)

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting begins in 2010.  The dates listed below are critical to complying with the mandatory reporting rule.  Notwithstanding the approach taken, greenhouse gas monitoring must begin by January 1, 2010.

Each facility should evaluate existing monitoring procedures and documentation to determine if extensions for the installation of monitoring equipment will be necessary.  If a facility will not be able to fully comply with the GHG requirements by April 1, 2010, a request for extension (including documentation of why the monitoring equipment cannot be obtained or installed) must be submitted by January 28, 2010.

Flow meters and other devices that measure data used to calculate GHG emissions should be calibrated to an accuracy of 5 percent by January 1, 2010.  If best available monitoring methods are used for the first quarter of 2010, the source must comply with the GHG calibration requirements by April 1, 2010.

The GHG Monitoring Plan (which is similar to a Quality Assurance Plan) should be completed by January 1, 2010.  If best available monitoring methods are used for the first quarter of 2010, the source must have the Monitoring Plan completed by April 1, 2010.

When developing the Monitoring Plan, a few special considerations are discussed below.

  • Facilities that contain Part 75 sources must also consider monitoring and calculation procedures for sources and processes that are not currently covered by existing Part 75 CEMS requirements (i.e., auxiliary boilers, diesel generators that do not meet the definition of an emergency generator, startup fuel for boilers, sorbent dryers use for fluidized bed boilers).
  • Emergency generators may be exempted only if they meet the ง98.6 definition, which will not be the case for all generators that are currently referred to by the utility as emergency generators."
  • For Part 75 sources, fuel flow meters and sampling procedures will be needed to quantify startup fuels (e.g., PNG or light oil on a coal-fired unit) for the purposes of calculating methane and nitrous oxide emissions.  (There are not any de-minimis fuel exemptions.)  This may require sources to calibrate and maintain fuel flow meters in addition to the stack CEMS currently being used for Part 75 reporting.
  • Facilities that contain non-Part 75 solid fuel combustion sources may be required to install additional CEMS to comply with Tier 4 reporting.
  • Facilities that contain non-Part 75 combustion sources must include fuel flow monitoring, fuel flow quality assurance, fuel sampling, and fuel analysis procedures for combustion sources.
  • Facilities that contain non-combustion sources must document the quality assurance of flow measurement devices, gas composition monitors, and heating value monitors for sources other than stationary combustion (i.e., flares, catalytic cracking units, sulfur recovery units).
  • Any facility using "company records" to report GHG emissions must document the procedures that are used to ensure the accuracy of "company records" including calibration procedures and the estimated accuracy of the measurements and the technical basis for estimates.  A facility must be aware that "company records" used for GHG reporting are not simply logs of measured values.

Although use of best available monitoring methods is allowed from January 1, 2010 through March 31, 2010, additional documentation and reporting will be required in the 2010 annual GHG report which must be submitted by March 31, 2011.  In particular, the 2010 GHG report will need to include a written explanation of any changes in emission calculation methodologies implemented during the reporting period, a brief description of each "best available monitoring method" used, the parameter(s) measured using the method, and the time period during which the "best available monitoring method" was used.

A copy of the GHG rule is available from our website FTP library.  RMB has extensive experience in the monitoring and sampling procedures and quality assurance activities incorporated in the GHG rule and is available to discuss the monitoring options for your facility.  RMB can assist your facility in ensuring that source documentation (e.g., Monitoring Plans, calibrations, certifications and reports) incorporate the requirements of the GHG rule within the time constraints of the rule. 

EPA Submits ICR Request to OMB (11/10/09)


In conformance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, EPA announced in today's Federal Register that an information collection request (ICR) has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval.  Approval of this ICR is being sought by EPA to provide the information necessary for the Agency to undertake a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rulemaking for electric generating units (EGUs).  EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234, which is available online at http://www.regulations.gov/.  The docket should contain comments that EPA received during the July 2009 public comment period, the Agency's response to those comments, and additional EPA supporting materials.   


This is a two-part ICR with the first part being a survey of all coal- and oil-fired EGUs.  EPA plans to allow owner/operators 3 months to respond to the survey.  The second part is a major emission testing program focused on determining the level of performance of the top performing 12 percent of similar EGUs.  According to the Federal Register notice, owner/operators will have 6 to 8 months to accomplish the required emission testing.  EPA's total estimated cost of this ICR is approximately $96.5 million with about $6 million to complete the survey and $90.5 million to conduct the emission testing.  Today's Federal Register notice initiates a 30-day comment period; comments must be in to OMB no later than December 10, 2009.

Final GHG Reporting Rule Published (10/30/09)

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule was published today (10/30/09) in the Federal Register.  The massive rule will require thousands of industrial sources to start reporting GHG emission data starting in the very near future.  The sources that will shortly need to address the GHG reporting rule include, but are not limited to:

  • Stationary Combustion Sources
  • Electricity Generation
  • Petroleum Refineries 
  • Petrochemical Plants
  • Cement Production
  • Lime and Soda Ash Production
  • Pulp and Paper Production
  • Ammonia Manufacturing
  • Glass Production
  • Fluorocarbon Production
  • Hydrogen Production
  • Metals Refining/Production
  • Acid Production
  • Vehicle Manufacturing
  • CO2 Suppliers
  • Natural Gas Suppliers
  • Waste Landfills

As indicated earlier, EPA is sticking with its irrational decision to require sources to report GHG emissions starting in 2010.  Facilities will need to identify the affected sources to develop monitoring plans, and begin documenting and recording the information required under the rule to monitor GHG emissions.  Once a facility is affected then all sources at that site that are covered by the rule, regardless of size, become affected.  This means that, with a few exceptions, nearly all combustion equipment at the site will require reporting.  In some cases, the rule may allow a source to use existing monitoring equipment for GHG reporting but will require new QA to document the accuracy of the equipment.  In other cases, additional monitoring will be needed, including CEMS for some sources.  Reporting will be required on an annual basis in accordance with a yet to be released format and submission process. 

As a minor concession, the rule allows "best available monitoring methods" to be used for the first three months of 2010.  Sources may request an extension to use best available data until the end of 2010 if they can document why the required monitoring equipment cannot be obtained or installed by April 2010.  However, any request for extension must be submitted by January 28, 2010, and the rule requires documentation and description of any changes to the monitoring approach (even "best available").

A copy of the GHG rule is available from our FTP library.   If you have questions regarding the GHG reporting rule, please contact Steve Norfleet at (919) 791-3123 or norfleet@rmb-consulting.com.

EPA Proposes Consent Decree (10/23/09)

On October 22, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson provided notice that her Agency intends to lodge with the Court a proposed consent decree in the matter of AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION, et al. (Plaintiffs) v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Defendants). To refresh your memory, Plaintiffs filed a compliant in the D.C. District Court on December 18, 2008. The complaint alleged that EPA failed to perform a non-discretionary duty by failing to promulgate final maximum achievable control technology (MACT) emission standards for hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from coal- and oil-fired electric generating units (EGUs).

The proposed consent decree would establish the following EPA obligations:

  • No later than March 16, 2011, EPA must sign for publication in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking setting forth the Agency's proposed MACT emission standards for coal- and oil-fired EGUs.
  • No later than November 16, 2011, EPA must sign for publication in the Federal Register a notice of final rulemaking setting forth the Agency's final MACT emission standards for coal- and oil-fired EGUs.

Thankfully, before this Consent Decree can be finalized and entered by the Court, EPA must provide notice in the Federal Register and an opportunity for public comment pursuant to the Clean Air Act ง113(g). After the close of the comment period, EPA must consider any written comments in determining whether to withdraw or withhold consent to this Consent Decree.

RMB staff have been involved with EPA and EGU rulemakings for 30 plus years. The schedule in the proposed Consent Decree, particularly the 6 months between the proposed rule and the final rule borders on insanity. Over the last three decades, what major rule has EPA finalized in 6 months following proposal? If anyone can provide a correct answer to this question, RMB would appreciate hearing from you, because we surely cannot name one!

Boiler MACT/CISWI Rule ICR Deadline Extension (10/9/09)

EPA has extended the submittal deadline of certain data for sources affected by the latest ICR for the development of the revised Boiler MACT Rule and CISWI NSPS. Most sources are required to submit the results of any requested stack tests, fuel analysis, and/or monitoring data by October 15, 2009. Sources that were included in the ICR after the initial mailing received alternative deadlines as specified in their Section 114 letter.

The deadline extension allows two additional weeks from the deadline listed in the source's Section 114 letter for the submittal of any data requiring the use of EPA's Emissions Reporting Tool (ERT), provided stack testing is completed and the test reports have been finalized. All other data must be submitted according to the deadline in the Section 114 letter. EPA provided this extension because a number of sources reported that ERT data entry was taking longer than expected, given the relatively short-time frame of the ICR.

If you are an affected source that will be unable to meet the ICR submittal deadline, you should contact either Jim Eddinger (eddinger.jim@epa.gov) for Boiler MACT sources or Brian Shrager (shrager.brian@epa.gov) for CISWI sources.

EPA Proposes GHG Thresholds for PSD and Title V (10/7/09)


Regardless of whether it is a rational approach, EPA is continuing down the path of regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA).  In what is couched largely as a procedural move, EPA is proposing to add a major source GHG applicability threshold of 25,000 tpy CO2e under both the Title V and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit programs.  For PSD, the Agency also is proposing a significance level between 10,000 and 25,000 tpy CO2e and is seeking comments on what that value should be.  (The "significance level" is the amount of emissions increase associated with a modification that would require a source to obtain a PSD permit.)  After five years, the Agency is proposing to complete a study to determine whether it is feasible to administer PSD and Title V permitting programs at lower GHG thresholds.

Under the proposal, new or modified facilities emitting over 25,000 tpy CO2e of GHGs "would need to apply for a revision to their operating permits to incorporate the best available control technologies (BACT) and energy efficiency measures to minimize GHG emissions."  BACT would be determined on a case-by-case basis during the PSD process.  Facilities with less than 25,000 tpy CO2e of GHG would not be required to obtain a permit.  Existing sources would need to include GHG emissions estimates in their permit applications during the five year renewal cycle.

Ostensibly, EPA is proposing the new thresholds to avoid an "absurd result" associated with other GHG related regulations that it has proposed.  The Agency believes that finalizing the GHG rule for light duty vehicles (proposal signed 9/15/09) will trigger CAA permitting requirements since such action would classify GHG emissions as a pollutant under the CAA.  The current thresholds for criteria pollutants (e.g., SO2 or NOX) are 100 and 250 tpy.  Without the proposed tailoring, EPA suggests that these lower thresholds would take effect automatically for GHGs if it were to adoption any rule limiting GHG emissions.


Without creating the new GHG thresholds, EPA estimates that about 40,000 PSD permit applications would be required each year (currently permit authorities receive about 300 PSD permits per year).  Title V permits would be required for six million sources (in contrast to the current inventory of 15,000 sources).  Under the proposed thresholds, EPA estimates 400 sources would be subject to PSD review each year for GHG emissions and approximately 14,000 sources would need Title V permits for GHG emissions.

EPA is apparently relying on the Massachusetts v. EPA decision as legal grounds to proceed with regulating GHG emissions under the CAA.  Notwithstanding the Supreme Court's narrow 5-4 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the CAA was neither intended nor designed to address GHG emissions.  The constructs that this Administration are trying to read into the CAA are simply not there.  As then-EPA Administrator Johnson stated in July 2008 when the Agency released the Advanced Notice of Public Rulemaking, "the CAA is ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases" and regulating GHG emissions through the CAA "could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy" (not to mention the years of litigation likely to follow).


A copy of the proposed rule is available on our
FTP library.  Comments on the proposed rule are due within 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

 

Final GHG Reporting Rule Signed (10/05/09)


EPA's final Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule was signed by the Administrator on September 22, 2009.  This massive rule will require a large swath of industrial sources to start reporting GHG emission data as a precursor to other potential GHG regulations and limits.

Despite receiving many comments that there was inadequate time to prepare, with many sources indicating that they do not currently have all the monitoring equipment required by the rule, the Agency is plowing ahead with its intention to require sources to report GHG emissions starting with 2010.  EPA has only minor concessions with a provision that allows the use of "best available monitoring methods" in lieu of the required monitoring methods for January - March 2010.  In limited situations, facilities can request an extension to use best available data beyond March 2010.  Requests for extensions must be submitted within 30 days after the rule becomes effective and such extensions can only allow best available data to be used for the remainder 2010.

As a whole, the final rule remains similar to the original proposal (see previous article).  Revisions to the GHG reporting rule include:

  • For combustion sources, exemptions have been added for unconventional fuels, flares, hazardous wastes, and emergency equipment.  Options allow aggregate reporting of emissions from smaller units.
  • Monitoring options changed or added and fuel sampling and analysis revised for some subparts.
  • More data reporting requirements for some sources "to allow EPA to verify reported emissions."
  • Calibration requirements added for various monitoring components including a 5% accuracy specification for flow meters.
  • Provisions added to allow facilities to exit the program if the emissions are < 25,000 tonnes CO2e/year for five years or < 10,000 tonnes CO2e/year for three years.
  • Recordkeeping requirements reduced from five to three years.
  • Provisions added for revising annual GHG reports to correct errors.

Additionally, EPA has deferred finalizing the subparts for:

  • Electronics manufacturing
  • Oil and natural gas systems
  • Ethanol production
  • SF6 from electrical equipment
  • Fluorinated GHG production
  • Underground coal mines
  • Food processing
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Industrial landfills
  • Coal Suppliers
  • Magnesium production

These sources will not be required to report under GHG rule until the respective subparts are promulgated.  EPA has provided no timeline for finalizing these subparts.

Electronic reporting will be required for all sources with the first report for 2010 due by March 31, 2011.  EPA has yet to provide information regarding the required format or submission process (anticipated to be similar to the XML reporting requirements recently applied to Part 75 affected sources.  As included in the original GHG reporting rule proposal, facilities with only stationary combustion sources can for 2010 only, submit an "abbreviated GHG report" according to 40 CFR 98.3(d).

For electric utilities sources that report emissions under Part 75, there will be no new monitoring but new reporting requirements (and calculation of estimated N2O and CH4 emissions using conservative defaults) under the new program.  However, other sources at the facility may require monitoring.

Most large combustion sources, particularly those with any existing CEMS (even concentration analyzers required by regulation, e.g., Part 60, for other pollutants), must use a CO2 and flow monitoring to measure mass emissions.  For combustion units required to install new CEMS equipment, alternative options (i.e., lower tiers) can be used in 2010 if additional time is needed to upgrade.

One problematic issue with the rule is that once a facility is determined to be affected under the GHG reporting rule, the CO2 emissions for all sources and equipment (for which monitoring requirements are established) at the facility, regardless of the size of the individual sources.  In other words, there is no de minimus reporting threshold.

For assistance with GHG reporting rule issues, please contact Steve Norfleet at (919) 791-3123 or norfleet@rmb-consulting.com.

Proposed Revisions to Reference Method 2H (9/23/09)


EPA published proposed revisions to Reference Method 2H in the August 25, 2009 Federal Register.  The Agency is revising Method 2H in order to harmonize the method with Conditional Test Method 41 (CTM-041).  The proposed revisions address wall effects for both circular stack and rectangular duct measurement locations and extend the improvements that were included in CTM-041 to all units.


The revisions to Method 2H will increase the accuracy of the method and simplify its application:

  • Increased accuracy while eliminating unnecessary tests.  The revisions would significantly reduce the uncertainty of wall effect adjustment factors (WAFs) by requiring that at least three wall effect runs be conducted rather than a single run as is currently allowed.  However, consistent with EPRI and EPA field test results  showing wall effects are independent of load and do not change over time, the revisions allows the WAF to used for any subsequent RATAs, provided that the same number of traverse points are use or changes are made to the duct or stack.  Thus, while the initial effort would be increased, the overall testing requirements would be reduced.  Do it once but do it right.
  • Decoupled from RATA.  The revised method does not need to be coupled with a RATA, allowing sources to avoid the potential difficulties and problems associated with trying to measure wall effects using Methods 2F or 2G.
  • Consistent Application.  By harmonizing Method 2H and CTM-041 into one revised method covering both circular stack and rectangular duct sources, the reporting should be streamlined.  CAMD would no longer have to address petitions for the use of CTM-041 and consistent reporting could be used for both groups of sources. 
  • Unit-specific defaults.  The arbitrary default WAFs and cap have been removed under from the revised method.  Instead, the revisions include options to determine conservative default WAF values that are based on viscous shear theory and take into account stack/duct geometry into consideration.


A copy of the proposed revisions to Method 2H is available in our FTP library.  Comments on the proposed rule are due by October 26, 2009.  Given the improvements to the method, RMB encourages positive comments in support of the proposed revisions.  If you have any questions regarding the proposed Method 2H revisions, please contact Steve Norfleet at (919) 791-3123 or norfleet@agoraenv.com.

Boiler MACT Rule Status (9/10/09)


On September 10, 2009, EPA received another extension of the deadline for the proposed Boiler MACT Rule and CISWI NSPS. Since the Boiler MACT and CISWI Definitions Rule were vacated in 2007, the timetable for development of the new rules has been tied into the rulemaking schedule for the area source MACT program. The latest court order specifies a deadline of April 30, 2010 for the promulgation of emissions standards accounting for 90% of area source HAPS. The order allows an alternative deadline of December 16, 2010 if EPA can propose the new Boiler MACT Rule, Gold Mining and Production MACT Rule, and CISWI NSPS by April 15, 2010. While not explicitly stated, the April 15, 2010 date is generally accepted as the new timetable for the proposed Boiler MACT Rule and CISWI NSPS. This latest action was expected by most stakeholders since the previous extension of September 15, 2009 was prior to the submittal deadline (October 15, 2009) of ICR stack test data for most sources.

EPA Posts Draft Part 75 Emissions Monitoring Policy Manual (7/28/09)


The Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD) issued a draft Part 75 Emissions Monitoring Policy Manual on July 27, 2009 which addresses previous revisions to 40 CFR Part 75 as well as the new Emission Collection and Monitoring Plan System (ECMPS) reporting requirements.  Revisions were not highlighted using a "redline/strikeout" format but a revision summary is provided in Appendix B of the manual.  Comments on the draft manual are due by August 31, 2009.  Comments should be submitted to the applicable CAMD regional coordinator via e-mail or to Louis Nichols at Nichols.Louis@epa.gov.  A copy of the draft Policy Manual is available in our FTP library.

Boiler MACT Rule Extension (07/20/09)


On June 30, 2009, EPA received a two month extension on the deadline for the proposed Boiler and CISWI MACT Rules. The new deadline (September 15, 2009) is an interim measure that will allow EPA and Sierra Club additional time to negotiate a more realistic deadline for the proposed rules. The latest action was expected by most stakeholders since EPA only recently began the stack testing component of the ICR, which is expected to be completed by October 15, 2009.

MACT Update:  Electric Utility Information Request Announced (07/06/09)


As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, EPA announced in the Federal Register (July 2, 2009) that the Agency intends to submit a request for a new Information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Facilities affected by this action are coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units.  According to the notice, EPA needs to obtain information necessary to identify and categorize electric utility steam generating units potentially subject to the MACT standards that the Agency intends to develop pursuant to section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Also, to quantify the emission level being achieved by the average of the best performing 12 percent of similar sources, this ICR would mandate a massive stack testing program.  EPA believes this program can be accomplished in 6 months, and the Agency's estimated overall cost burden on the utility industry is approximately $105 million.  EPA estimates the stack sampling cost to be $60 million for the selected coal-fired units and $35 million for the selected oil-fired units.

For stack testing at coal-fired units, EPA identified four grouping of hazardous air pollutants (HAP).  The four HAP grouping are (1) acid gases (HCl, HF & HCN); (2) dioxin & furan; (3) non-dioxin/furan organic HAP; and (4) mercury and non-mercury metallic HAP.   EPA has identified 217 units to sample for acid gases at an estimated cost of $8.25 million; 149 units to sample for dioxin and furan at an estimated cost of $7.45 million; 184 units to sample for non-dioxin/furan organic HAP at an estimated cost of $19.7 million; and 214 units to sample for mercury and non-mercury metallic HAP at an estimated cost of $24.8 million.

The public comment period runs through August 31, 2009.  EPA's supporting documents for this ICR can be found in the rulemaking Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-2009-0234 at www.regulations.gov.  In terms of the ICR process, EPA must review comments and revise the ICR as the Agency deems appropriate.  A final ICR package will be submitted to OMB for review and approval.  At that time, EPA will publish another notice in the Federal Register to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB.

EPA Releases Interim Traceability Protocols for Hg Calibrators (07/02/09)

On July 2, 2009, EPA released two interim traceability documents that outline the qualification and certification procedures required for elemental and oxidized mercury gas generators.  The procedures included in these documents will need to be followed in order to establish "Interim EPA Traceability" for Hg calibration gas generators.   Until today, no formal procedures were available to establish an unbroken chain of traceability from NIST to the calibration gas generators in the field.  The traceability protocols themselves, along with appropriate companion documents and necessary spreadsheets, are available on EPA's website by following the link below:  http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/emissions/mercury/hgmonitoring.html

With research funding provided by EPRI, RMB, in a collaborative effort with EPA and vendors, contributed heavily to the development of these protocols.  As a result, RMB is uniquely qualified to assist industry with the full implementation of these protocols.  If you have any questions concerning any aspect of these protocols, please contact Will Roberson at will@rmb-consulting.com.

 

Boiler/CISWI MACT Webinar (06/29/09)

On June 18, 2009, EPA hosted an online question and answer session to discuss some of the issues raised by stakeholders as a result of the recent Boiler and CISWI MACT information collection request (ICR). There were a significant number of questions regarding the test methods, unit operating requirements, and reporting requirements outlined in EPA's ICR test procedures guidance document, which was included in the notification letter to affected sources. EPA has issued two supplemental guidance documents that include a summary of responses to many of these issues. These documents along with copies of the original ICR test procedures and reporting templates can be found on EPA's ICR website or on our FTP library. Any source that is affected by the ICR should review the supplemental guidance documents as soon as possible.

Boiler MACT ICR Part II (06/10/09)


EPA recently issued notification letters to approximately 300 sources requiring additional data for Part II of the EPA's Information Collection Request (ICR) for the development of the new Boiler MACT and Commercial/Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator (CISWI) MACT Rules. These sources were selected to gather additional information about certain process units and fuel types that was either unavailable or insufficient from EPA's Part I ICR.

The emissions testing and fuel sampling procedures are specific to each unit and depend on fuel type, combustor design, and emissions control device. For most sources, emissions test requirements include CO, HCl and HF, mercury, metals (antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, nickel, phosphorus and selenium), particulate matter (total PM, filterable PM2.5, and condensables), dioxins and furans, and SO2. Additional requirements for some boilers and process heaters include formaldehyde, total hydrocarbons, methane, and NOx. Many sources are also required to conduct a 30-day fuel sampling trial to assess variability of chlorine, fluorine, and metals constituents. A limited number of sources are required to conduct a 30-day continuous monitoring trial of CO and total hydrocarbons, which will require some sources to install, certify, and operate temporary analyzers.

EPA requires the results of all stack tests, fuel analyses, and/or monitoring data to be submitted by October 15, 2009. Additional guidance on the test procedures, methods, and reporting requirements has been included with each notification letter although our review of these guidelines indicates that a number of clarifications would be helpful. EPA will be hosting a webinar on June 18, 2009 for affected sources and stakeholders to address some of these issues. Based on the ICR collection deadline, it is apparent that EPA will not be able to meet the July 15, 2009 deadline for the proposed Boiler MACT rule. However, at this point, EPA has not announced a new date for the proposed rule.

RMB recommends that sources that are affected by the new ICR begin to investigate stack testing options and scheduling as soon as possible. Current work loads for stack test firms and analytical laboratories are pushing test dates into late-August and September 2009. Tests performed after mid-September 2009 may have difficulty meeting the October 15, 2009 deadline. If you do not believe you can meet EPA's deadline or you do not believe you should have been selected as an ICR recipient, you should contact EPA immediately. Since many of these test methods are complicated and/or relatively new (OTM 27 and OTM 28), RMB recommends hiring a qualified testing contractor that has had sufficient prior experience with each method. Also, the ICR specifies that all test data must be submitted electronically using EPA's Emissions Reporting Tool (ERT). Many testing firms may not be familiar with this software. Therefore, sources should allow sufficient time to convert and submit the data in the required format.

Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (05/17/09)


On April 10, 2009, EPA proposed in the Federal Register a massive rule requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases (GHG).  We use the adjective massive because the proposed rule takes up almost 300 pages in the Federal Register and, according to EPA's estimates, would affect over 30,000 individual facilities across some 40 source categories.  The proposed rule was drafted by EPA's Climate Change Division, which is a sister division to EPA's Clean Air Markets Division.  The public comment period is scheduled to close on June 9, 2009.

EPA's proposed mandatory GHG reporting rule would have significant impact on host of industries.  The rule would place additional monitoring and reporting requirements on sources, would produce data likely to influence potential GHG reduction policy decisions and could establish potential precedents for future CO2/GHG reporting requirements.  The proposed rule would require reporting of annual emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorochemicals (PFCs), and other fluorinated gases (e.g., nitrogen trifluoride).  The proposed rule applies to facilities that emit ≥25,000 tons per year of CO2 equivalent GHG emissions and to suppliers of fossil fuels and industrial GHGs, as well as to manufacturers of vehicles and engines.  Annual reporting would generally be required at the facility level except certain vehicle and engine manufacturers would report at the corporate level.

In the proposal, EPA wants to rule to be effective January 1, 2010, with the first annual reports due on March 31, 2011.  EPA's goal is to have the final rule published in time for sources to actually begin monitoring and collecting data on January 1, 2010.  RMB believes EP's goal is unrealistic; a more realistic approach is to start collecting data on January 1, 2011 and submit the first reports to EPA by March 31, 2012.  The preamble and proposed rule can be downloaded from the following links.

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads/RULE_E9-5711.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads/Preamble_E9-5711.pdf

EPA  Proposes Revisions to Test Methods (03/26/09)


On March 25, 2009, EPA proposed, in the Federal Register, revisions to EPA Methods 201A and Method 202.  According to EPA, the proposed revisions to Method 201A would add a particle-sizing device to allow for sampling particulate matter (PM) with an aerodynamic diameter equal to or less than 2.5 micrometers (ยตm).  The proposed revisions to Method 202 would revise the sample collection and recovery procedures of the method in effort to reduce the formation of reaction artifacts that lead to inaccurate (biased) measurements of condensable particulate matter (CPM).  Comments on EPA's proposal must be received by the Agency on or before May 26, 2009. 

RMB applauds EPA for finally acknowledging the flaws in Method 202 and taking action to minimize the inherent biases and imprecision in many of the measurements that have been made with Method 202.  RMB is concerned that most if not all of the Agency's work has been performed in a laboratory on simulated stack gas, and as such, the apparent reduction in method biases may not be fully realized in actual field measurements.  RMB hopes that anyone with actual test data collected with the revised Method 202 procedures will provide those data to EPA during the comment period.  We believe the Agency would most benefit from studies that compare existing Method 202 data with contemporaneous measurements obtained with the revised Method 202 procedures.  (The revised Method 202 procedures have been available and posted on EPA's web site as OTM 28 for several months.) 

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear CAMR Case (02/27/09)

On February 25, 2009, the Supreme Court declined to hear the arguments in the appeal petition filed by the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG).  This comes a year after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR). The Supreme Court's rejection of the petition to hear the case means that D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to remand the case to the EPA stands.  The bottom line, CAMR is History, with no further avenues for revival.

Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Exemption Wacked by D.C. Court (01/07/09)

On December 19, 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted environmental Petitioner's challenge to EPA's startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) provisions and vacated the SSM exemption.  The decision was 2 to 1 with Circuit Judge Rodgers writing for the Court, and Senior Circuit Judge Randolph writing a strong dissenting opinion.  Below we summarize the way the Circuit Judges Rodgers and Tatel apparently viewed this case.  However, Senior Circuit Judge Randolph does not agree that the Court has jurisdiction over the Sierra Club's petition for judicial review.  Judge Randolph reminded his colleagues that the original SSM regulation was issued by EPA in 1994, and the Sierra Club took no legal action.  Under the CAA, a petition for judicial review of an EPA regulation must be filed within 60 days of the regulation's publication in the Federal Register.

In the 1970s EPA determined that excess emissions during SSM periods should not be considered violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) emission standards under section 111 (i.e., new source performance standards).  Although sources are exempt from numerical limits during SSM events, EPA requires owners and operators to maintain and operate any affected facility including air pollution control equipment in a manner consistent with good air pollution control practices for minimizing emissions (i.e., the general duty requirement).  In 1994, EPA adopted the SSM exemption for section 112 rules (i.e., maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards).  Although sources were exempt from numerical limits, EPA required each source to develop and implement an SSM plan.  Each SSM plan must describe in detail procedures for operating and maintaining the source during SSM periods and a program of corrective action for malfunctioning process and air pollution control equipment.  Each plan was to be incorporated by reference into the source's Title V permit.

In 2002, EPA removed the requirement that a source's Title V permit incorporate the SSM plan, and instead determined that a source's Title V permit must simply require the source to adopt an SSM plan and to comply with it.  Additionally, EPA decided that an SSM plan was to be made publicly available only upon request.  The Sierra Club sought reconsideration of the 2002 rule.  In 2003, EPA decided to require members of the public to make a specific and reasonable request of the permitting authority to request the SSM plan from a source.  Both the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) challenged the 2003 rule.  In 2006, EPA retracted the requirement that sources implement their SSM plans during SSM periods.  EPA's reasoning was that since the SSM plan was not part of the Title V permit, the Agency could not require it to be followed.  Nonetheless, EPA stated the general duty to minimize emissions remains intact and is the applicable and enforceable requirement.  Petitioners now argue that the exemption from compliance with emission standards during SSM events is both unlawful and arbitrary, and the 2002, 2003, and 2006 rules unlawfully and arbitrarily fail to assure compliance with applicable requirements under Title V.  According to Judge Rodgers' opinion, EPA's SSM exemption violates the CAA's requirement that some section 112 standard apply continuously.  Accordingly, the Court granted the petitions and vacated the SSM exemption.

CAIR Revived (12/23/08)

On December 23, 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted EPA's petition to remand the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to the Agency to be "fixed" rather than be vacated, which was the Court's original (July 11, 2008) decision.  This means that CAIR is back in effect, but EPA is on notice for replacing the rule consistent with the Court's July 2008 findings.  The Court did not impose a schedule on EPA, but was clear in that the Court does not intend its action to be an indefinite stay of the effectiveness of the July 2008 decision.

Boiler MACT Update (12/23/08)

The Boiler MACT will be back soon. The courts have set a timetable for EPA to have a proposed rule by July 15, 2009 and a final rule by July 15, 2010.

D.C. Circuit Court Vacates CAIR (7/11/08)

On Friday, July 11, 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and its associated Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) and remanded both to EPA.  The Court granted several petitions raised by the plaintiffs and took issue with EPA's rulemaking on several fronts.  The Court stated that 'no amount of tinkering with the rule or revising of the explanations will transform CAIR, as written, into an acceptable rule."

The Court notes that the current regional NOx SIP Call trading program will continue because EPA planned to end this program after the 2008 ozone season only because it would be replaced by the CAIR NOx ozone season trading program in 2009.  The Court added that the continued implementation of the NOx SIP Call trading "should mitigate any disruption" for NOx as a result of the vacatur of CAIR. 


EPA must either accept the vacatur of CAIR or seek to have the D.C. Circuit Court's decision reversed through any of several judicial processes.

D.C. Circuit Rules on Rehearing Petitions (5/21/08)

On May 20, 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the two petitions that were filed seeking rehearing en banc (all the judges of the Court) of the Court's February 8th decision to vacate EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR).  While we may continue to be disappointed by the Court's decisions, we never cease to be surprised.  That is, the en banc rehearing petitions were before the Chief Judge and the nine Circuit Judges.  Yet, for reasons we do not understand, the petitions were denied by five judges with five judges "not participating in the matter."  Go figure!   

Petitions for Rehearing of D.C. Circuit Court Decision Filed (3/28/08)


On March 24, 2008, two petitions were filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking rehearing en banc (all the judges of the Court) of the Court's February 8th decision to vacate EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR).  The U.S. Government filed on behalf of EPA, and UARG filed on behalf of its electric utility member companies.  Both petitions pointed out a series of mistakes made by the original panel in arriving at the February 8th decision.  While the panel relied heavily on Chevron U.S.A. v. NRDC, both petitions chastised the panel for misapplying the statutory principles of interpretation set forth in Chevron.  In Chevron, the Supreme Court explained the meaning of a "word" can only be determined in the context of the overall statute--not as a single word in isolation.  Both petitions are concise, make for interesting reading, and are posted in our FTP Library.  Keep checking back to our web site; RMB will try to keep you informed as CAMR twists and turns in the Court.   


D.C. Circuit Court Decides CAMR (2/11/08)


It is difficult to decide which was worse:  (1) the media's reporting of the Court's decision or (2) the decision itself.  For example, a Washington Post article stated that the Court struck down Bush administration policy allowing some power plants to exceed mercury emission levels, ruling that the government failed to consider the effect on public health and the environment.  First, EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) is a regulation--not a 'Bush administration policy."  More importantly, the Court did not even consider public health or environmental issues -- much less rule on them.  A North Carolina paper wrote that the Court said the Bush administration ignored the law three years ago when it imposed less stringent requirements on power plants to reduce mercury pollution.  In point of fact, the Court neither mentions the Bush administration nor does it deal with the stringency of CAMR.

What did the Court really say?  Basically, the Court agreed with the environmental Petitioners' challenge, which was that EPA could not legally remove electric generating units (EGUs) from the section 112(c) list of source categories of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) without following the delisting procedure described in section 112c(9).  Since, in the opinion of this Court, EPA inappropriately removed EGUs from the section 112(c) list, CAMR must be vacated because it was developed under the provisions of section 111(d).  The D.C. Circuit Court's ruling was on a very narrow issue -- clearly not the sweeping repudiation that the media has so zealously reported.

EPA defended its action by explaining that the Agency reversed its December 2000 "appropriate and necessary" finding.  That is, since EPA used the "appropriate and necessary" finding to put EGUs on the section 112 list in 2000, a negative "appropriate and necessary" finding in 2004 required the Agency to remove EGUs from the list.  The Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) intervened and supported EPA's defense.  Moreover, UARG argued that the section 112(c) listing was not binding because of lack of notice and comment rulemaking, and thus EPA is not required to comply with the section 112(c)(9) delisting approach.  In a most perplexing statement, the Court ruled it need not consider the intervener's argument because EPA steadfastly refused to join it.

The Court's decision may raise more questions than it answers, especially with respect to what happens next.  It is interesting to note how environmental groups have praised the Court's decision on CAMR.  It is interesting because this decision vacates the only nationwide control of mercury emissions from EGUs!       

Court Strikes Down EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule (2/10/08)


On Friday (02/08/08), the DC Circuit Court stuck down the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) in its entirety.  The three judge panel vacated the CAMR regulations for both new and existing units.  The decision remands the issue of how to regulate mercury emissions from electric generating units back to EPA for its reconsideration.


How did we get here?
  Several states and environmental groups had sued the EPA over the CAMR regulations, which the court elected to consolidate in a single case.  On the other side of the table and adding to the complexity of the case, a number of states and groups, including the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), acted as interveners for the Agency (i.e., supported the defense).  However, while the petitioners posed a number of challenges to CAMR, the court's action hinged simply on the EPA's decision to delist the electric generating units (EGUs) from Section 112(c) of the Clean Air Act (CAA).


Section 112(n) of the CAA required the EPA to conduct a study of hazardous air pollutants from EGUs to determine whether it was "appropriate and necessary" to regulate the sources under Section 112, which would require prescriptive Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) limitations.  This study was completed in 1998.  In December of 2000, EPA Administrator Carol Browner announced that it was "appropriate and necessary" to regulate coal- and oil-fired EGUs under Section 112.

But, in 2005, EPA reconsidered its decision to list EGUs under Section 112 and determined that its original "finding lacked foundation" and that, for a variety of reasons, it was "not appropriate or necessary" to regulate the units under Section 112.  Instead, the Agency decided it had the discretion to regulate mercury under Section 111 of the CAA and finalized the CAMR regulations based on this new approach.


In Friday's opinion, the DC Circuit Court stated that the Agency's 2005 delisting action was without authority because it did not satisfy the requirements of Section 112 (c)(9), which states that the Agency may delist only after determining that the emissions from the sources do not "exceed a level which is adequate to protect public health with an ample margin of safety and no adverse environmental effect will result..."  In the absence of this evidence, the court was highly critical of EPA's determination, stating that the Agency "deployed the logic of the Queen of Hearts," suggesting that EPA's decision was based on nothing more than the whimsy of its desires.  (While EPA's actions regarding mercury have been rife with misstep and error, the author finds the court's critical tone somewhat excessive.)  Since the court found the delisting to be invalid, EGUs should have been regulated under Section 112 not Section 111, so the CAMR regulations "must fall."   Because the delisting was improper, there is no basis for either the CAMR-related NSPS mercury limits for new sources or CAMR established mercury budget/trading program for existing units.


[Commentary:  The Court's finding would seem to be predicated on the assumption that the Agency's December 2000 listing was a final, binding decision.  But, some of the interveners argued that listing was not binding because Section 112(n)(1)(A) states that no listing action of the Administrator "shall be a final agency action" until "the Administrator issues the emission standards for such pollutant or category" (and is, thus, subject to notice and comment).  In other words, the interveners argued that the listing action was not final since the Agency had not finalized the associated MACT standard.  However, the court (which relegated this issue to a footnote) stated that it did not even consider this contention "because EPA has steadfastly refused to join it."


The Court's decision to ignore the question of whether the listing actually represented a final decision seems disingenuous not only because the opinion cites the portion of the preamble to CAMR rule where the Agency states that "the December 2000 finding and associated listing are, therefore, not final agency actions" (Federal Register March 29, 2005, p. 16033) but because it was the same court that heard the industry's initial objection to the listing action.  In that case, the Agency appears to have stated the exactly what it supposedly was refused to join, indicating that "because the decision to add coal and oil fired electric utility steam generating units to the source category list is not yet final agency action, it will be among the matters subject to further comments in subsequent standards rulemakings" (EPA's Motion to Dismiss UARG v. EPA, 2001).  Is the court itself indulging in the logic of the Queen of Hearts or just in the simplicity of a selective memory?]


Where do we go from here?
  It appears that the court's decision leaves EPA with three options:  1) It can appeal the decision.  2) It can revisit the delisting by developing justification in accordance with Section 112(c)(9).  3) Or, it can develop a MACT standard for EGUs based on Section 112.


While EPA (or the interveners) could appeal, some suggest that this is "a bit of a long shot."  [Quote by Jeffrey R. Holmstead (the former EPA Assistant Administrator for Office of Air and Radiation who is generally credited as the architect of the Section 111-based CAMR approach) cited in a February 9, 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times.]  The next step in the judicial process would be a hearing by the full DC Circuit Court, which, given the unanimous nature of the decision by the three judge panel, might be difficult to obtain.  This would leave only an appeal to the US Supreme Court, which may also be less disposed to hear the case for the same reason.


Beyond an appeal, EPA could choose to salvage CAMR by developing Section 112(C)(9) justification for the delisting.  However, baring the aforementioned argument that a listing action is not final until the standard is developed (and subject to notice and comment) that the court elected to ignore, Section 112(C)(9) creates a hole that is much easier to fall into than it is to climb out of.  Under the court's decision, the pages of discussion that EPA included in the preamble to the "Delisting Rule" describing the reasons its initial finding was a mistake count for nothing.  The Agency must show that the emissions do not "exceed a level which is adequate to protect public health with an ample margin of safety and no adverse environmental effect will result..." 


If EPA must fall back to developing a MACT standard, will the Agency simply be able to dust off the MACT standard that it initially proposed in parallel with the cap-and-trade-based CAMR proposal back in 2004, or will it need to go completely through the MACT standard development process based upon new utility control and performance data?  In accordance with the CAA, the MACT limit for new sources shall be no less than the "best controlled similar source, as determined by the Administrator."  For existing sources, MACT standards must be no less stringent than the average of the best performing 12% of existing sources.


Either way the impact of a MACT standard on industry would be great.  All units would need to comply with the mercury limits.  There would be no trading and, thus, no chance to balance out one unit by "over-controlling" another.  Based on the court's decision for National Lime Association v. EPA (December 2000), some would also argue that listing EGUs under Section 112 subjects the units not only to mercury limits but potential monitoring and limitation requirements with each of the 189 hazardous air pollutants listed under Section 112.


What does this mean for mercury monitoring?
  While the ruling did not explicitly touch on the subject, it is logical to infer that if CAMR is dead then any monitoring required in conjunction with the program is likewise dead.  40 CFR ง75.80(a) states that sources must comply with the mercury monitoring requirements only "to the extent that compliance is required by an applicable State or Federal Hg mass emission reduction program that incorporates by reference, or otherwise adopts the provisions of, this subpart."  Vacating the CAMR program would seem to remove the applicability of the Part 75 mercury requirements for the states that adopted EPA's model CAMR trading rule although some states may need to revisit their specific regulations.  For states that chose to implement mercury regulations that were more stringent than CAMR, those requirements (and any associated monitoring) would still stand.


At present, EGUs are in limbo.  The court has not issued the mandate for the decision so the monitoring provisions are technically still in effect.  Obviously, however, there remains considerable uncertainty around what EPA's response to this decision will be and whether CAMR is actually down for the count.  If an appeal is successful, the court's action will, presumably, have no impact on the impending Part 75 monitoring deadline.  Even if CAMR is out for good, the monitoring hiatus will likely be (excluding some political force majeure) only a temporary one since any mercury MACT standard will presumably include continuous monitoring requirements.  While no trading would be involved, the importance such data, in terms of the total cost and scope of the associated emission reduction, would only increase. 


[Some had suggested that even if the court vacated the CAMR, that the monitoring provisions could still stand.  It had been suggested that the Agency would petition (and perhaps it still will) that the CEMS data would be necessary to establish the MACT standard and that the court might specifically stay the mandate on certain CAMR monitoring related provisions.  This author, however, finds such a position difficult to justify.]


How similar any MACT monitoring requirements would be to the current Part 75 requirements is a serious question since the MACT standard and any associated monitoring requirements would fall under the jurisdiction of EPA's Office of Air Quality and Planning Standard (OAQPS) rather than the Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD).  For example, would OAQPS entertain a periodic testing approach for a mercury MACT standard similar to the Part 75 provision for low mass emission units and how might the QA requirements differ?  In general, the OAQPS regulations tend to be more straightforward than Part 75 with fewer monitoring options.  Under a MACT standard, the reporting provisions would likely be more similar to Part 60 excess emissions rather than the highly prescriptive, data intensive requirements of Part 75.


Enjoy your CAMR "vacation" -- things may get interesting.


[This article was written by Steve Norfleet who acknowledges that he is not a lawyer and that the opinions expressed in this article are solely his own.]

Part 75 Revisions Published (1/24/08)

The final revisions to Part 75 were published in the Federal Register today (page 4312 of the January 24 issue).  A copy of the promulgated revisions from the Federal Register including the preamble  has been posted on our FTP library.

Final Part 75 Revisions (1/9/08)

The final revisions to Part 75 were signed on December 19, 2007.  While the revisions have not yet appeared in the Federal Register, EPA has release an unofficial consolidated version of Part 75 incorporating the new changes. A copy of the redline/strikeout version has been posted on our FTP library

Revised - Hg Monitoring Plan/Certification Submittal Extension (1/8/08)


In accordance with ยง75.63(a)(1), sources that will be certifying mercury (Hg) CEMS equipment in 2008 must submit the certification data no more than 45 days after the tests are completed.  Sources must also provide electronic monitoring plan information at least 21 days (proposed) prior to starting the certification tests.  Since there is no way to report Hg data using the existing EDR format, which EPA has expressed that it will not revise for Hg, the predicament could potentially force many sources to use the new XML format prior to the anticipated date of 2009 when the Agency has stated that XML will be required for all sources.  A similar situation also exists for newly affected SO2 sources under CAIR, which cannot be completely addressed by the existing EDR format.


Complicating matters further, CAMD has stated that sources cannot report using both formats during the 2008 transition.  So, if a source has to report an Hg monitoring plan and certification data, presumably, it would also have to report all its regular emissions data using the new format too.  Furthermore, while 2008 has been slated as a transition year where sources could opt into XML reporting, EPA is somewhat behind its initial schedule so a production version of CAMD's ECMPS client tool (which will be required to evaluate XML formatted data and facilitate submission of that data to EPA's host database) will not be available for some potential certifications in early 2008.


In recognition of this situation, EPA has indicated that it will accept (and grant) petitions to extend the deadline and give sources up to the 90 calendar days following the official release of the ECMPS client tool software to submit their monitoring plan and certification data.  The extension would apply to both the electronic records submitted to CAMD as well as the hardcopy portions of the monitoring plan that are submitted to the applicable state and region.


Although CAMD first indicated an email request would be sufficient, it has since reversed that decision.  To ask for an extension, sources should send a written request in the form of a petition under ง75.66.  It is recommended that the request should be submitted before certification testing is completed.  For more information, including a sample petition, click here.

Part 75 Revisions - EPA's Response to Comments (12/22/07)


While it is our understanding that a rulemaking package has been signed by the Administrator to take final action the Part 75 revisions that were proposed last year, EPA has not yet released the final rule revisions.  The Agency has, however, released a copy of the associated Response to Comments document, which sheds light on many of the apparent changes in the final version from the original proposal.  A copy of the document has been posted to our FTP Library.

 

"Official" Versions of Methods 30A and 30B Released (8/24/07)

EPA has released the Direct Final Rule including the "official" versions of Methods 30A and 30B as they will appear in the Federal Register. The Direct Final should be published in the Federal Register in about 3 weeks. When published, there will be a 30-day comment period. If no adverse comments are received by EPA, (please do not send in adverse comments) the rule will be effective in an additional 30-days. A copy of the rule has been posted to our FTP Library.

 

IB-MACT Rule Dead (8/1/07)

Its final--the IB-MACT Rule was officially vacated on Monday with the issuance of the court's mandate for the June 8, 2007 ruling.  It was expected that the court would issue the mandate by July 30th.  Court procedures allowed a 45-day period following the original ruling for parties to submit any petition for further review and an additional seven days at the expiration of this period before officially issuing the mandate.

Vacature of the IB-MACT Rule activates the case-by-case MACT requirements provided for in Section 112(j) of the Clean Air Act.  While the timing of this is less than clear, we believe case-by-case MACT will be implemented in a two-phase approach as described in 40 CFR 63.52.

Draft Mercury Reference Methods (6/19/07)

EPA has released "work-in-progress" versions of a draft mercury instrumental reference method (Method 30A "Determination of Total Vapor Phase Mercury Emissions from Stationary Sources") and a draft mercury sorbent trap reference method (Method 30B "Determination of Total Vapor Phase Mercury Emissions from Coal-Fired Combustion Sources Using Carbon Sorbent Traps"). The draft methods have been posted to our FTP Library.

Later this year, EPA plans to take direct final action to approve the two reference methods. With a direct final action, EPA issues a notice of a final rule that will take effect if there is no adverse public comment. The Agency will also simultaneously publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to facilitate such comment.

Ostensibly, EPA has released the draft methods to help sources and testing firms plan for upcoming mercury CEMS RATAs. An additional benefit of the release is that it allows others the opportunity to review the methods prior to their publication in the Federal Register, which is especially valuable given the final direct ruling approach and the need of the industry to have a viable reference method in place shortly. While the methods have not been formally released for public comment, any questions or concerns regarding the draft reference methods should be brought to the EPA's attention so that the issues can be addressed before the methods are finalized.

IB-MACT Rule Vacated (6/14/07)

A On June 8th, the DC Court of Appeals vacated the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters (40 CFR 63, Subpart DDDDD, aka "IB-MACT Rule").  This decision was not all that unexpected as EPA had already filed a motion on March 26, 2007 to partially vacate the rule because of issues associated with the establishment of the MACT emissions floor.  However, the rule was vacated not because of EPA's motion but because of a related decision pertaining to the New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units (aka "CISWI Definitions Rule").  In NRDC (et al) v. EPA and the Coalition for Responsible Waste Incineration, the court ruled that EPA's definition of "commerical or industrial waste" was inconsistent with the language in Section 129 of the Clean Air Act.  As a result, many of the boilers now affected by IB-MACT will be reclassified as CISWI units, which will substantially reduce the universe of boilers affected by IB-MACT.  Because IB-MACT will need to be significantly altered to address these changes, the court decided to vacate the rule in its entirety.  The court also indicated that this decision makes EPA's motion for partial vacatur and remand irrelevant.

Despite the court's decision, there may still be opportunity for the existing rule to remain in place.  To address the fact that the ruling would effectively leave both CISWI and industrial units without any federal HAP emissions standards, all involved parties have the opportunity to delay implementation of the ruling by filing a motion to request that the current standards remain in place or to request a reasonable deadline for EPA to establish new emissions standards.  It is almost certain that NRDC will file such a motion.

The situation is quite complicated and introduces significant uncertainty for many sources that are finalizing their compliance strategies before the September 13th deadline.  Given the possibility that the existing rule may remain in place, sources should continue to proceed as if the upcoming compliance deadline were to remain in effect at least until there is a more definitive outcome in this case.

Mercury Presentations (1/31/07)

A copy of Steve Norfleet's paper summarizing state mercury regulations and a copy of Richard McRanie's presentation highlighting Mercury CEMS technical issues and recent results that was presented at the EPRI Mercury Measurements Workshop (held after the 2007 Electric Utilities Environmental Conference in Tucson, Arizona) have been posted to RMB's new Technical Papers and Presentations section.

Proposed Revisions to 40 CFR Part 75 (8/28/06)

On August 4, 2006, EPA posted to its website proposed revisions to 40 CFR Part 75.  EPA posted the proposed revision and also an "unofficial" redline/strikeout version of the Rule as Volumes 1 & 2.  The proposed revisions were formally published in the Federal Register on August 22, 2006.  Highlights of the proposed revisions are listed below.

  • Revisions to the recordkeeping and reporting requirements to accommodate the changes from the ASCII to XML reporting formats.  As a reminder, new sources first reporting in 2008 should begin reporting in the XML-EDR format.  All sources are required to report in the XML format beginning January 1, 2009.

  • Changes to the QA/QC requirements associated with ozone-season only reporters in the regional NOx Budget Program.

  • Introduces requirements that RATAs be conducted and sorbent trap monitoring systems be operated by an Air Emissions Testing Body (AETB) conforming to the requirements specified in ASTM D7036-04.  The AETB shall either provide a "Qualified Individual" on-site to conduct or shall oversee RATAs.  The "Qualified Individual" shall provide source(s) with copies of the qualification credentials relevant to this testing.  This is a problematic requirement since the whole issue surrounding test contractor certification is still in a state of flux.

  •  Introduces new fuel specific F-factors for bituminous and sub-bituminous coal as well as petroleum coke and tire derived fuel.

  • Proposes to restrict use of the diluent cap to NOx emission rate calculations only.

  • Harmonizes QA/QC requirements between Ontario Hydro Mercury Method and the Appendix K sorbent methodology.

  • Revises missing data procedures for sorbent trap monitoring systems to mirror those for Hg CEMS.

  • Introduces a "single trap adjustment factor" (STAF) of 1.222 for sorbent trap monitoring systems.  The results of the valid trap sample is multiplied by the STAF: (1) when one of the paired traps fails to meet the Appendix K QC requirements for paired traps or (2) when one of the paired traps is lost, damaged or broken.

  • Proposes emission test requirements when a fuel (i.e., coal) supply is changed for Hg low mass emission (LME) units.  However, the rule does not address requirements for periodic combustion of other solid fuels or fuel blends and is soliciting comments on applying the LME provisions to these situations.

  • Finally, EPA is also soliciting comments on the use of sorbent traps for reference method testing.

Comments on the proposed 40 CFR Part 75 revisions are due no later than October 23, 2006.  Copies of the redline/strike version as well as the Federal Register version of the proposed 40 CFR Part 75 revisions are available in our FTP Library.


Instrumental Test Methods Updated (6/9/06)


On May 15, 2006, EPA published "Updates of Continuous Instrumental Test Method" in the Federal Register as a final rule.  The final rule revises Reference Methods 3A, 6C, 7E, 10 and 20.  Highlights of the changes are listed below.  These new methods must be used on any RATA or compliance test after August 14, 2006.  RMB suggests that you contact your testing company immediately to make sure that it has a plan for implementing these Reference Methods.

  • Method 7E now serves as the foundation of the instrumental methods as opposed to Method 6C.

  • Method 7E introduces more stringent QA test requirements (e.g., a Manufacturer's Stability Test for "low concentration analyzers") and associated recordkeeping requirements for the tester.

  • Method 7E requires that the reference method analyzer span be equal to the high-level gas concentration.  This will likely prove to be problematic for sources that require the test contractor to use in-house calibrations gases during RATAs since setting the span value to the high-level gas may render the low- or mid-level concentrations as unsuitable for use.

  • Although Method 20 has not been removed as a reference method, effectively there is no difference between Methods 7E and 20.  For example, the Method 20 preliminary O2 traverse and four-level calibration gas requirements have been removed.


A copy of the final instrumental test method rule is available in
our FTP Library.

EPA Finalizes Mercury Reconsideration  (6/3/06)


On May 31, 2006, EPA announced its final decision with respect to reconsidering several aspects of the Agency's March 29, 2005 Electric Utility Delisting Rule (Section 112(n) Revision Rule).  EPA also announced its final decision with respect to reconsidering certain issues in the May 18, 2005 Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR). 

After considering petitions for reconsideration, EPA decided not to revise its final Section 112(n) Revision Rule other than explaining, in more detail, what the Agency meant by the effectiveness element in the term "necessary."  EPA made two substantive changes in CAMR: (1) revised some State mercury allocations and (2) revised the new source performance standards (NSPS).  Several commenters provided data indicating EPA erred in the mercury allocations for Alaska because it failed to include a coal-fired unit located in that State.  EPA agreed, added the heat input for that unit, and made the appropriate adjustment to the Alaska budget.  However, because of the relatively small adjustment required coupled with the significant figures in the State budgets, EPA had to revise only six other State mercury budgets.

Many commenters expressed concern over the statistical analysis EPA used to develop NSPS mercury emission limits.  EPA did not find it necessary to revise its statistical approach, although the Agency did correct some mathematical errors in the original statistical analysis.  EPA's final NSPS mercury emission limits are as follows.  (Note that compliance with the NSPS limits is based on continuous monitoring data and determined on a 12-month rolling average basis.) 

Bituminous coal: 20 x 10-6 lb/MWh
Subbituminous coal (wet units) 66 x 10-6 lb/MW
Subbituminous coal (dry units) 97 x 10-6 lb/MWh  
Lignite coal 175 x 10-6 lb/MWh    
Coal refuse 16 x 10-6 lb/MWh 
Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) 20 x 10-6 lb/MWh  

EPA's final reconsideration decision somewhat takes on the characteristics of a "good news" and "bad news" story.  The good news is that if you have read and comprehended the requirements of CAMR, then you will not need much remedial training.  The bad news is that now that EPA has completed its reconsideration process, mountainous litigation can and undoubtedly will begin.  Moreover, we probably cannot reasonably expect a decision from the D. C. Court of Appeals before the end of 2007.  Generally speaking, electric utilities do not have the luxury of waiting for the Court's decision and still be able to meet the CAMR monitoring deadlines!

 

Subpart KKKK  (2/17/06)

Last week, RMB obtained a copy of EPA's final NSPS Subpart KKKK rule (aka the "Quad K" rule). Subpart KKKK will be effective upon publication of the final rule in the Federal Register, which is anticipated to occur in the next month. The rule will affect all turbines that commence construction, are modified, or are reconstructed after February 18, 2005. Sources subject to Subpart KKKK will not be subject to NSPS Subpart GG, which only affects units constructed prior to the "Quad K" date.

The emission standards in the "Quad K" rule reflect changes in nitrogen oxides (NOX) emission control technologies and turbine design, since the standards in Subpart GG have remained relatively unchanged since 1977. The "Quad K" emission standards allow the turbine owner or operator the choice of a concentration-based (in units of NOX ppm @ 15% O2) or output-based standard (in units of NOX lb/MWh). These emission standards will vary based upon the size, fuel, application, and location of the affected source.

Similar to that of the revised NSPS Subpart GG rule that was updated in 2004, the Subpart KKKK rule intends to harmonize, where applicable, the Part 60 and Part 75 monitoring and quality assurance requirements for sources that are required to install and operate NOX CEMS. This harmonization is welcomed by the utility industry, in that the inconsistency and confusion associated with meeting both the Part 60 and Part 75 requirements can now be avoided (where Part 75 takes precedence).

The Subpart KKKK rule, however, is not without its flaws. For example, consider a new combined-cycle 170 MW unit with a Subpart KKKK emission limit of 15 ppm NOX @ 15% O2 while firing gas (0.43 lb/MWh) and 42 ppm NOX @ 15% O2 while firing oil (1.3 lb/MWh), to be determined on a 30-day rolling average. These standards, in general, should be easily met since a given source's BACT (or LAER) limit will be much lower than the NSPS standard (e.g., a BACT limit of 3.5 ppm NOX @ 15% O2). However, the Subpart KKKK rule will also require that the unit's startup, shutdown, and malfunction emissions be included in the 30-day rolling average. For a unit that averages 6 hours of startup and shutdown time per day and 18 hours of controlled operation for the remainder of that 24-hour period, the 30-day rolling average will probably be met. However, for a unit that averages more than 6 hours of startup and shutdown time per day (coupled with less than 18 hours of controlled operation for that day), difficulty meeting the standard could be possible. This will especially be true for cold or cold/cold startup events.

A copy of the final NSPS Subpart KKKK rule is located in our FTP Library. For more information concerning the rule, please contact Robert Bivens at (919) 791-3133.
 

Industrial Boiler MACT Update (2/2/06)

On December 28, 2005, EPA published minor revisions to the Industrial Boiler MACT (IB-MACT) Rule, resulting from reconsideration of portions of the Health-based Compliance Alternatives (HBC) for total selected metals (TSM) and hydrogen chloride (HCl).  Among the more notable changes are (1) the use of a weighted average stack height to determine look-up table values for sources with multiple affected units and (2) HBC alternatives now apply to all sources with an HCl and/or TSM limit, not just solid-fuel fired units.

The fact that the HBC methodology remains virtually unchanged is good news for many sources that are unable to meet the HCl emissions standard using either of the primary compliance options, as HBC represents the only other alternative to meet the new standard without control equipment upgrades.  Note that since the revisions did not change the requirement to assume the conversion of all fuel-based chlorine as Cl2, any coal-fired unit that plans on using the fuel-based HBC approach for HCl will likely have to use the emissions-based HBC approach instead of fuel sampling (i.e., conduct stack testing for HCl and Cl2).  Sources must submit eligibility requests to use HBC by 9/13/06.  These sources will need to conduct stack testing and/or fuel testing to demonstrate eligibility.  RMB recommends that such testing be conducted no later than July 2006 to allow adequate time to prepare the eligibility request.

[Note to the Electric Utility Industry:  Many utilities tend to overlook IB-MACT applicability for some of their older coal-fired boilers.  RMB estimates that there may be as many as 150 existing boilers at electric utility plants that are affected by IB-MACT.  RMB recommends that utilities verify whether or not they have any affected units and then conduct preliminary fuel sampling to determine compliance options.]

EDR Format Revisions (2/2/06)

In December, EPA released revised EDR v2.1 and v2.2 for format documents and associated reporting instructions for the Acid Rain and NOX Budget Programs.  While this is the first revision to the reporting formats and instructions since March 2003, the changes are very minor.  Two new record types, RT 532 and RT 617, have been added for sources using CTM-041.  There are a number of additional codes and a rather undeft change in the reporting instructions regarding the reporting of load bins for common and multiple stack units.  Frankly, given the nature of revisions, is surprising that the Agency simply did not defer the modifications until implementation of XML reporting in 2009.  Copies of the new EDR format documents and reporting instructions are located on our FTP Library  

CAMR Reconsiderations (2/2/06)

In October (10/28/05), EPA published two reconsideration notices in the Federal Register related to the Agency's Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), which was signed on March 15, 2005. The first notice dealt with the rule itself, which will regulate Hg emissions from new and existing electric generating units (EGUs).  Issues that the Agency stated its intent to reconsider include:

  • Phase I (2010) statewide Hg emission budgets and the unit-level allocations on which the budgets were based.
  • Definition of "designated pollutant" under 40 CFR 60.21
  • EPA's subcategorization of EGUs that burn subbituminous coal
  • Statistical analysis used to set NSPS emission limits
  • Hg content in coal used to establish NSPS emission limits
  • Definition of covered units as including municipal waste combustors
  • Definition of covered units as including some industrial boilers.

On the surface, the above list appeared imposing.  However, RMB believes that much of the reconsideration process can be categorized as EPA simply re-explaining and clarifying the Agency's original intent in the rule. 

The second notice dealt with the Agency's revision of its December 2000 regulatory finding on the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from electric utility generating units and the removal coal- and oil-fired electric generating units from the Section 112(c) list.  This decision was published in the Federal Register on March 29, 2005.  Issues that the Agency stated it would reconsider include: 

  • A number of legal interpretations, primarily with respect to Section 112(n)(1)A language
  • EPA's methodology in concluding that utility Hg emissions, after imposition of the requirements of the CAA are not reasonably anticipated to result in hazards to public health
  • EPA's decision related to nickel emissions from oil-fired units.

The second bullet item in the above list included numerous sub-issues and comprised several pages of Federal Register text.  However, it appears that EPA was simply going out of its way to re-explain a complicated and lengthy process that led the Agency to take the action it did in promulgating CAMR on May 18, 2005.

Clean Air Mercury Rule Final (5/18/05)

On March 15, 2005, EPA issued the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) designed to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired utility boilers. The Rule creates a cap-and-trade program that will be implemented in two phases. Phase 1 caps mercury emissions at 38 tons per year (tpy) in 2010 and phase 2 caps mercury emissions at 15 tpy in 2018. 40 CFR Part 75 serves as the foundation of the CAMR monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. For existing units that commence commercial operation before July 1, 2008, mercury monitoring systems must be installed and certified no later than January 1, 2009.  This rule was made final and published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2005.

CAMR highlights include, but are not limited to:

  • Creates Subpart HHHH of 40 CFR Part 60 which establishes the model rule provisions for the mercury budget trading program for coal-fired utility boilers.
  • Incorporates Performance Specification 12A for mercury CEMS in Appendix B of 40 CFR Part 60.
  • Revises 40 CFR Part 75 to incorporate mercury monitoring, recordkeeing and reporting requirements where applicable. This includes missing data substitution procedures, QA/QC requirements, quarterly reporting, etc.
  • Creates Subpart I of 40 CFR Part 75 which establishes the mercury mass emission provisions.
  • Introduces Appendix K of 40 CFR Part 75 which establishes the procedures for operating a sorbent trap monitoring system to determine mercury mass emissions.
  • Revises Subpart Da of 40 CFR Part 60 by establishing stringent mercury emissions limits in addition to the trading program "caps" for new units (i.e., unit construction on or before January 30, 2004). Emission limits are set according to fuel type (e.g., 21 x 10-6 lb mercury/megawatt hour for bituminous coal-fired units) and compliance is determined on a 12-month rolling average basis.

A copy of CAMR is located in our FTP Library.

Clean Air Mercury Rule (3/29/05)

On March 15, 2005, EPA issued the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) designed to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired utility boilers. The Rule creates a cap-and-trade program that will be implemented in two phases. Phase 1 caps mercury emissions at 38 tons per year (tpy) in 2010 and phase 2 caps mercury emissions at 15 tpy in 2018. 40 CFR Part 75 serves as the foundation of the CAMR monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. For existing units that commence commercial operation before July 1, 2008, mercury monitoring systems must be installed and certified no later than January 1, 2009.

CAMR highlights include, but are not limited to:

  • Creates Subpart HHHH of 40 CFR Part 60 which establishes the model rule provisions for the mercury budget trading program for coal-fired utility boilers.
  • Incorporates Performance Specification 12A for mercury CEMS in Appendix B of 40 CFR Part 60.
  • Revises 40 CFR Part 75 to incorporate mercury monitoring, recordkeeing and reporting requirements where applicable. This includes missing data substitution procedures, QA/QC requirements, quarterly reporting, etc.
  • Creates Subpart I of 40 CFR Part 75 which establishes the mercury mass emission provisions.
  • Introduces Appendix K of 40 CFR Part 75 which establishes the procedures for operating a sorbent trap monitoring system to determine mercury mass emissions.
  • Revises Subpart Da of 40 CFR Part 60 by establishing stringent mercury emissions limits in addition to the trading program "caps" for new units (i.e., unit construction on or before January 30, 2004). Emission limits are set according to fuel type (e.g., 21 x 10-6 lb mercury/megawatt hour for bituminous coal-fired units) and compliance is determined on a 12-month rolling average basis.

A copy of CAMR is located in our FTP Library.

Clean Air Interstate Rule (3/29/05)

On March 10, 2005, EPA released the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) designed to significantly reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions using a cap and trade program. CAIR affects 28 eastern states (and the District of Columbia) and primarily targets electric generating units (EGUs). Electric utility sources outside of the CAIR region will continue to participate in the Acid Rain Program as is. The trading programs will be administered by the Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD) and CAMD will discontinue the administration of the current regional NOx Budget Program upon the CAIR effective date in 2009.

The rule does provide States with the flexibility of including non-EGUs in the CAIR NOx Budget Program. This is a key issue since CAIR does not supercede the current NOx SIP Call Rule (i.e., Subpart A, 40 CFR Part 96) which established the ongoing regional NOx Budget Program. States must still establish a mechanism for meeting the NOx reductions required under the NOx SIP Call Rule.

CAIR highlights include, but are not limited to:

  • CAIR introduces Subparts AA, AAA and AAAA of 40 CFR Part 96 which establish the model rules for implementing the annual NOx Budget Program, the annual SO2 Budget Program and the ozone season NOx Budget Program, respectively.
  • Affected States have the "flexibility" to achieve the emissions reduction in whatever manner they chose. However, if a State elects to participate in a CAIR program, the State must adopt the provisions of the applicable CAIR model rule.
  • The NOx and SO2 programs commence in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
  • Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and New Jersey may participate in the ozone season NOx Budget Program only.
  • Georgia, Texas and Minnesota may participate in only the annual SO2 and NOx Budget Programs.
  • The remaining affected States and the District of Columbia may participate in all three trading programs.
  • Allowances are specific to each respective program. CAIR does not allow "inter-allowance" or "interpollutant" trading.
  • Pre-2009 banked NOx SIP Call allowances may be used in the CAIR ozone season NOx Budget Program. Vintage 2009 and beyond NOx SIP Call allowances may not be used in the CAIR program.
  • Pre-2010 banked SO2 allowances are exchanged on a 1-to-1 basis in the CAIR SO2 program.
  • Vintage 2010 - 2015 SO2 allowances are exchanged on a 2-to-1 basis and vintage 2015 and beyond SO2 allowances must be exchanged on a 2.86-to-1 basis.
  • Flow control will not be used in the CAIR trading programs.

A copy of CAIR is located in our FTP Library.

Refinery MACT II Reminders (2/22/05)

The compliance deadline for EPA's proposed Petroleum Refinery NESHAP, also known as the Refinery MACT II, is rapidly approaching. For most existing sources, the compliance deadline is April 11, 2005. However, the rule allows an additional 150-day grace period to conduct the initial compliance testing, which would extend the "drop-dead" compliance date to 9/8/05. At this time, sources must submit the Notification of Compliance Status as per 63.9(h)(2)(ii) of the general NESHAP provisions and Table 42 of Refinery MACT Rule. Affected sources should also be aware of other notification requirements and deadlines:

  • Sources that need to conduct performance testing for demonstrating initial compliance must submit notification at least 30 calendar days before the test is scheduled to begin.
  • For sources that are not required to conduct performance testing for demonstrating initial compliance, the notification of compliance status must be submitted no later than 30 calendar days following the initial compliance demonstration.
  • Sources must submit an operation, maintenance, and monitoring plan for each affected source, control system, and continuous monitoring system along with the Notification of Compliance Status.
  • Sources must develop and submit a Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (SSM) Plan along with the Notification of Compliance Status.

The first ongoing compliance report is due on July 31st if initial compliance occurs before June 30th or January 31st, 2005 if initial compliance is demonstrated after June 30th.

EPA Amends Refinery MACT II (2/21/05)

EPA amended the Petroleum Refinery NESHAP (a.k.a. "Refinery MACT II") on February 9, 2005 based on concerns of several refineries and industry trade organizations. The amendments clarify rule applicability and monitoring requirements for catalytic cracking units (CCU), catalytic reforming units (CRU), and sulfur recovery units (SRU) and provide new compliance options for some CRUs. The following is a list of the more significant changes to the rule:

  • The detailed performance specifications for continuous parameter monitoring systems (CPMS) have been removed. CPMS systems must now be installed, operated, and maintained in a manner that is consistent with manufacturer's recommendations or other written procedures that assure the equipment will monitor accurately.
  • Facilities with affected CCUs that demonstrate compliance with the NSPS PM standard may now calculate volumetric flow rate from the regenerator exhaust using gas analyzer CO2, O2, and CO measurements, provided these measurements are taken prior to the addition of air or other gas streams.
  • The exemption from organic HAP standards during reactor purging for affected CRUs has been clarified. Purging operations greater than 5 psi are exempt if the uncontrolled emissions of total organic carbon (TOC) or non-methane TOC are less than 20 ppm, corrected to 3% O2.
  • Affected CRUs with an internal scrubber may now demonstrate compliance with an alternative HCl percent reduction standard.
  • New compliance options are available for CRUs equipped with a gas-solid adsorption system.

The new amendments are open for public comment until March 11, 2005 or by March 28, 2005 if a public hearing is requested. If no adverse public comments are received, the amendments will become effective April 11, 2005 (the existing compliance deadline).

Clean Air Mercury Rule Update (1/23/05)

EPA appears to be on schedule to meet its March 15, 2005 deadline for finalizing the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR). All indications are that CAMR will be a cap-and-trade based regulation and will require continuous monitoring of mercury emissions. RMB remains on the forefront of mercury related-regulations and mercury CEMS. RMB continues to serve as EPRI's primary technical consultant for mercury CEMS and mercury regulations. Additionally, RMB is involved in an EPRI demonstration project to evaluate the semi-manual stack testing procedures specified in proposed Reference Method 324. This project includes the EPRI Quick SEMSTM monitoring system which is currently the only commercially available monitor that meets the proposed Method 324 specifications. Some proactive utilities have already implemented mercury test programs to determine unit-specific mercury emission levels and to formulate initial compliance strategies. RMB services include, but are not limited to, test protocol development, test program management, compliance assessments and compliance strategy development. Mercury testing tends to be expensive and if not performed well, produces more questions than answers. Therefore, it is beneficial to have experienced personnel administering the test program to ensure sound mercury emissions data are obtained during any mercury test program. With mercury allowances estimated to be worth as much as $30,000/lb, monitoring system accuracy has never been more important.

RMB will also teach a 1.5 day mercury training course prior to EPRI's CEMS Users Group Conference scheduled for May 4 - 6, 2005 in Savannah, Georgia. Course topics include commercially available mercury CEMS, principles of operation, operation and maintenance, certification test procedures and current mercury regulations. If you are interested in attending the EPRI conference and/or training course, please contact Chuck Dene of EPRI at (650) 855-2425.

Industrial Boiler MACT Update (12/01/04)

The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Industrial/Commercial/Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, also known as the "Industrial Boiler MACT," was published on 9/13/04 in the Federal Register and became effective on 11/13/04. Existing sources must comply by 4/13/07 and new sources must comply with the new rule within six months of the effective date or six months after startup, whichever is later. The only existing boilers or process heaters that are affected are solid fuel-fired units with a heat input rating greater than 10 mmBtu/hr and "limited use," solid fuel-fired units that operate less than 10% of capacity.

The final rule contains a variety of compliance provisions for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCl), mercury (Hg) and "total selected metals" (TSM). Sources subject to a TSM standard may comply with an alternative particulate matter (PM) standard. Sources are able to comply with the emissions standards either based on stack emissions or fuel sampling. For sources that demonstrate compliance based on stack emissions, the rule also includes CAM-like monitoring requirements of the control device and prescriptive reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The impact of the rule for existing sources will depend largely on whether the source is able to meet the new standards using the fuel-based compliance option. Sources that burn a relatively consistent fuel or fuel blend that can demonstrate compliance based on fuel analysis will likely find that the rule will have minimal impact. However, new sources and existing sources that are unable to demonstrate compliance based on fuel analysis will likely find the rule to be very costly to implement. RMB estimates that as many as half of all existing sources will be unable to demonstrate compliance using the fuel-based compliance option. These sources will have to conduct ongoing, expensive stack tests and meet prescriptive monitoring, reporting and record keeping requirements.

RMB recommends that sources start early in addressing the requirements of the new rule. The Industrial Boiler MACT is a complex rule that will require careful analysis of potential compliance options, performance testing, installation of new or upgrades to existing CEMS/COMS hardware, and development of new reporting and record keeping procedures. Some sources may also need to install control device(s) to meet the new limits. While the three year (four years for sources that need to install control devices) implementation schedule may seem like a long time, many sources will need most of this time to address the requirements of the rule. As a first step, RMB recommends that existing sources conduct an initial fuel "evaluation" to determine the applicability of the less cumbersome fuel-based compliance approach. This will essentially determine the impact of the rule and enable the source to plan for the more rigorous compliance requirements of the stack-emission based compliance option, if necessary.

CAM and the Industrial Boiler MACT. The Industrial Boiler MACT does not automatically exempt sources from the monitoring requirements of EPA's Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Rule. CAM applicability will depend on the MACT compliance strategy for TSM and the manner in which the new PM limit is incorporated into the operating permit. It is quite possible that many sources will be affected by both rules for PM emissions. In this case, sources should consider the compliance strategy for both rules simultaneously. This may enable some sources to reduce the overall costs associated with monitoring plan development and implementation. Please contact Rob Barton at (919) 791-3129 or barton@agoraenv.com for more information.

Industrial Boiler MACT Rule Update (8/3/04)

Although it is yet to be published in the Federal Register, EPA finalized the Industrial Boiler MACT Rule earlier this year. This rule will become effective 60 days after publication and EPA has indicated that the rule will be published soon. The rule will affect industrial, commercial, and institutional process heaters and boilers and is expected to significantly influence the pending utility boiler MACT rule.

The impact of the rule for existing sources will depend largely on whether the source is able to meet the new standards without the need of a control device. Sources that burn a relatively consistent fuel or fuel blend that can demonstrate compliance based on fuel analysis will likely find that the rule will have minimal impact. However, new sources and existing sources that are unable to demonstrate compliance based on fuel analysis will likely find the rule to be very costly to implement. These sources will have to conduct ongoing, expensive stack tests and meet prescriptive monitoring, reporting and record keeping requirements.

RMB has setup a Boiler MACT Section on our website that discusses the rule and highlights the services that we provide to assist sources with this new regulatory challenge. An Industrial Boiler MACT Rule factsheet and a comparison of the original proposed to the final rule are available from our FTP Library.

RMB Invites Participation in Mercury (Hg) Monitoring Implementation Project (7/6/04)

There are a number of Hg emission measurement issues raised by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) proposed Utility Mercury Reduction Rules. Regardless of the form of the final rule, the issues are the same. From a Hg emissions measurements perspective, it does not matter if the final rule emerges as a conventional MACT rule or as a cap and trade rule. The technical support documentation in the rulemaking docket and information available from industry research clearly shows that Hg continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) technology is not commercially available at the level of reliability, accuracy and cost needed for either a continuous compliance or trading program. It is a simple fact that no continuous Hg CEMS or carbon trap method has ever met all of the requirements of the proposed rules. In some cases, the required QA/QC tests in proposed Performance Specification 12A or Method 324 have never been attempted.

EPA appears to recognize that there are significant impediments to the commercial application of Hg continuous monitoring technology. EPA has plans to initiate an extensive dual site evaluation project to define and refine continuous Hg monitoring technology. Three different EPA groups are involved: (1) Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS), (2) Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD), and (3) Office of Research and Development (ORD). Below is a summary of major technical issues associated with Hg CEMS technology. It is critical that the EPA projects not only resolve the major technical issues associated with Hg CEMS but also demonstrate the reliable continuous operation of Hg CEMS.

Major Technical Issues Associated With Hg Continuous Measurements

  • The precision, accuracy and time lag associated with the Ontario Hydro wet chemical reference test method
  • Availability and demonstration of an instrumental reference method for Hg
  • Availability and demonstration of continuous Hg monitor calibration techniques for elemental Hg
  • Availability and demonstration of continuous Hg monitor calibration techniques for oxidized Hg
  • Demonstration of oxidized Hg converter performance
  • Demonstration of calibration drift and linearity of the continuous Hg monitor
  • Quantification of lower measurement limit for continuous Hg monitors
  • Reliability and operability of Hg monitoring systems
  • Performance of Hg carbon traps (Method 324) relative to other measurement methods

RMB has structured a Hg CEMS implementation project to work with EPA, vendors and EPRI to ensure that the technical issues are addressed in a timely fashion and in a realistic manner. While certain of the issues above can be dealt with in a laboratory setting, others must be resolved in the field at significant cost. Unfortunately, many of the issues simply have never been addressed. Our objective is to ensure that all of the issues are addressed and that results can be obtained in a normal field setting and at a reasonable cost.

All utilities are invited to join in support of this project. We anticipate that the project will last through the end of 2005 or approximately 18 months. Several utilities have already expressed interest in joining this effort and we hope that broad support can be obtained. Both direct and EPRI TC funding mechanisms are available.

NOx Budget Program Reminders (3/26/03)

The 2004 ozone season is almost upon us. For many sources, 2004 marks the first year for compliance. A brief list of reminders is provided below.

  • For sources in the previous OTC NOx Budget Program, compliance begins May 1, 2004.
  • For NOx Budget affected sources located outside of the OTC region, compliance begins May 31, 2004. However, affected sources must begin monitoring NOx emissions on May 1.
  • For sources reporting on an ozone season basis, a linearity check must be successfully completed on each CEMS prior to May 1. CAMD has also clarified that another linearity check must be conducted in the May/June timeframe (provided that this time period qualifies as a unit QA operating quarter) even if the pre-ozone season linearity check was performed in April.
  • The results of any QA/QC tests conducted outside of an ozone season which are used to quality-assure data for a subsequent ozone season must be reported in the second quarter EDR of the new ozone season.

RMB offers a one-day training course which focuses on the monitoring, record-keeping and reporting requirements specified in 40 CFR Parts 75 and 96. Topics include CEM quality assurance/quality control requirements, recordkeeping, reporting, diagnostic testing and recertification requirements, and EDR evaluations. Courses are tailored to address site-specific monitoring strategies.

Rectangular Ducts Wall Effects Method (Revised 03/02/04)

EPA has released the optional rectangular duct wall effects test method, developed by RMB as part of an EPRI research project, as Conditional Test Method 41 (CTM-041) for use on rectangular stacks or ducts. This method is available for use with Part 75 Acid Rain and NOX Budget units.

CTM-041 may be used starting in the quarter that the written request is submitted. Before using the new method, a source must petition EPA. The Designated Representative (DR) or Authorized Account Representative (AAR) can submit a written request for use to cover all of the units for which the DR or AAR is responsible.

EPA anticipates approval of each request. The Agency, however, has reserved all sections in the original version of the method included in the EPRI final report that applied to ash build-up has stated that all approvals will be conditioned with the following language: "The rectangular duct cross-sectional area may not be adjusted to account for any build-up of particulate matter or other material in the bottom of the duct when calculating stack gas volumetric flow." While this does not allow a source to both use CTM-041 and take credit for any blockage in the duct due to ash build-up, this repesent a softening from the EPA's original position that the measurement-based approach in the method would be disallowed wherever an ash layer was present.

CTM-041 includes a number of improvements over the wall effects test method approach in EPA Reference Method 2H. CTM-041 establishes a one time test that may be performed at any load although at least three runs must be performed in comparison to the one run required by Method 2H. The wall effects adjustment factor (WAF) is also applied as a cross-sectional area adjustment that is subsequently applied both to any reference method as well as CEMS data. The conditional method includes procedures to determine unit specific default WAF and a reduced measurement-based approach based on the logarithmic-overlap law.

EPA requires units using CTM-041 to follow special EDR reporting instructions that were also released with this method. EPA recently updated MDC to incorporate rectangular duct wall effects. Copies of CTM-041, the reporting instructions, FAQs, and a spreadsheet that can be used to calculate the wall effects results are available at our FTP Library.

Proposed Mercury and Interstate Air Quality Rules (12/17/03)

In "separate but closely related" actions, EPA has proposed rules to limit mercury (and nickel) emissions from utility units and proposed an "Interstate Air Quality Rule" to address ozone and fine particulate pollution concerns in the Eastern United States. These rules were proposed simultaneously because they "dovetail well" based on the suggested "co-benefit" that SO2 and NOX controls would provide toward mercury reductions.

In a very unusual move, EPA proposed two completely separate potential rules for reducing mercury. EPA apparently followed this unusual approach because it appears to have changed its original December 2000 opinion that a MACT based standard is the best way to regulate mercury. These options are "co-proposed" and EPA is soliciting comments on both potential rules. Presumably, only one of these options can and will become a final rule and will depend upon "whether EPA takes final action to revise the December 2000 section 112 (n) (1) (a) finding."

The first proposed option is to regulate mercury (and nickel) via Section 112 of the Clean Air Act through a MACT standard. EPA states that this approach will reduce mercury by 14 tons/yr by 2007. In contrast, the second proposed approach would reduce mercury under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act by a "standard of performance" cap and trade program. Under this option, mercury would be cut by 33 tons annually in 2010, representing a 69% reduction of current utility emissions.

The Interstate Air Quality Rule would create a budget program similar to the NOX SIP Call and require power plants and other industrial sources to make steep cuts in SO2 and NOX emissions. It would reduce emissions in two phases. By 2010, 3.7 million tons of SO2 and 1.4 million tons of NOX would be cut annually. When the rule is fully implemented in 2015, emissions would be permanently capped with annual cuts of 6.0 million tons of SO2 and 1.7 million tons of NOX, reducing SO2 by approximately 70% and NOX by about 50% from current levels.

In contrast to the proposed mercury rules, which would apply across the country, the proposed Interstate Air Quality Rule will effect only the sources in the following 29 states and the District of Columbia:

Alabama Kentucky North Carolina
Arkansas Louisiana Ohio
Connecticut (ozone only) Maryland Pennsylvania
Delaware Massachusetts South Carolina
Florida (particle pollution only) Michigan Tennessee
Georgia Minnesota (particle pollution only) Texas (particle pollution only)
Illinois Mississippi Virginia
Indiana Missouri West Virginia
Iowa New Jersey Wisconsin
Kansas (particle pollution only) New York District of Columbia

Copies of the preambles to each proposed rule and both proposed mercury rule options can be found in our FTP Library. The proposals include standards for mercury CEMS and mercury reference methods that would be used to certify the performance of such devices. Comments on these proposed rules are due within 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

Revised Part 75 Policy Manual (11/06/03)

EPA recently released a revised version of its Part 75 Emissions Monitoring Policy Manual. The revised manual is intended to reflect the 2002 revisions to Part 75 and includes new recertification and diagnostic testing guidance and modified guidance concerning add-on controls. In light of the official release of EPA's long anticipated recertification and diagnostic testing guidance, sources are advised to modify their QA plans given the new "requirements." A copy of the revised Policy Manual is available from our FTP Library.

Final CT MACT Rule (9/22/03)

While it has yet to appear in the Federal Register, EPA has released the final Combustion Turbine MACT Rule, Subpart YYYY of Part 63, which is designed to limit the emissions of hazardous air pollutant (HAPs) emissions from plant sites that are categorized as major sources. The final rule is much improved over the proposal. The highly problematic requirement to measure CO reductions across oxidation catalysts has been removed. EPA has rejected the proposed use of CARB Method 430, EPA Method 320, and EPA SW 846 Method 0011, relying only on EPA FTIR Method 323. The formaldehyde standard has been raised from 43 to 91 ppb at 15% O2, to be demonstrated by an annual test at full load.

While much better than the proposed rule, the rule is still a prime example of unsupported rulemaking. While some additional data were added, the final limit is still based on scant, poor quality data. There is so little data that EPA apparently felt compelled to keep CARB Method 430 even though it has rejected the method. (EPA found that the CARB 430 data only had a correlation of 0.56 with the FTIR data and applied a bias adjustment factor of 1.7 to the CARB data included in the analysis!) So much of the data "analyzed" were also little more than noise, below or near the true detection limit of the method. How can a meaningful limit be based on such questionable data? At least the new limit is much closer to range that can actually be reasonably measured and, fortunately, only new combustion turbines at major sources will be affected. Of course the most troubling aspect of the rule is that EPA failed to address the question of risk, whether the negligible HAPs from turbines actually pose a significant health problem, particularly at major sources. (Some data have shown higher concentrations in the ambient air than in the stack.)

Once published in the Federal Register, immediate compliance will be required for new or reconstructed combustion turbines located at major sources, although 180 days will given for the compliance demonstration. A copy of the final rule is available at our FTP Library.

Part 75 CEMS Field Audit Manual (8/12/03)

On July 30, 2003, EPA issued the revised "Part 75 CEMS Field Audit Manual"which is designed to provide guidance to State and local regulatory agencies for conducting audits of CEM programs. The Introduction states that "EPA believes that a strong audit program is an essential component of an effective Part 75 compliance oversight program. Given the increased role of State and local agencies in Part 75 implementation, EPA has prepared this manual to assist agencies in implementing Part 75 and to ensure the ongoing integrity of the new NOx trading program."

The Manual includes an overview of the various CEM technologies (e.g., dilution-extractive, straight extractive, in-situ), instructions for evaluating electronic data reports (EDRs) using EPA's auditing software, guidelines for conducting on-site inspections, and procedures for observing CEMS performance tests such as daily calibrations and relative accuracy test audits. Appendix A of the "Part 75 CEMS Field Audit Manual" includes a series of example audit forms and check sheets. RMB notes that Appendix A also includes procedures for conducting a Level 3 type audit where a linearity check is conducted using calibration gases provided by the auditor.

Given the relatively high profile of the NOx Budget Program, especially in relation to ozone non-attainment issues, as well as the significant cost of NOx allowances, the issuance of this manual likely signals an increase in auditing activity by various regulatory agencies. Experience indicates that newly affected NOx Budget sources have found Part 75 compliance to be a significant challenge. Because the 2004 ozone season marks the beginning date for compliance with the NOx Budget Trading Program, sources may find it beneficial to conduct an objective, external audit to ensure that the CEM program is operating on a sound foundation.

In addition to program compliance, another important objective of an audit can be the evaluation of potential CEMS "biases" that may be attributing to the over-reporting of SO2 and/or NOx emissions. Due to the high cost of NOx allowances (ranging from $1,500 to $6000 per ton), over-reporting emissions can have significant cost impact. For information concerning RMB's auditing services please contact one of RMB's staff. A copy of EPA's "Part 75 CEMS Field Audit Manual" is available in our FTP Library.

EDR Errata and Supplemental Guidance (6/05/03)

EPA has released an errata to its EDR Format and Reporting Instruction documents, which generally simply addresses typographical and other small errors in the documents. It has also released supplemental guidance for NOX Budget units on how to report RT 307 for ozone season only and year-round reporters as well as how to handle differences in the reporting and compliance periods in 2004. Copies of the two documents are available from our FTP Library.

San Deigo CEMS Conference Papers (5/30/03)

The papers prepared by RMB personnel for the EPRI CEM Users Group Meeting in San Diego have been posted to our website. Included are Steve Norfleet and Will Roberson's paper on the Part 75 CEMS Equipment Trends, Richard McRanie's paper discussing the Proposed Combustion Turbine and Industrial Boiler MACT Rules, Russell Berry's paper on a CEM Automation Field Evaluation, Ralph Roberson's paper regarding Particulate Mass Emission Monitors and Steve Norfleet's paper on Correcting Flow Measurements for Wall Effects in Rectangular Ducts and Stacks.

Proposed Method 3 for Opacity Monitors (5/29/03)

This month, EPA published Procedure 3 in the Federal Register as a proposed addition to Appendix F of Part 60. Procedure 3, which is a revised version of a standard for opacity monitors used for compliance that was originally proposed as Method 203 that was initially slated for Appendix M of Part 51. Comments on the proposal are due by July 7, 2003. A copy of the proposed Procedure 3 is available from our FTP Library.

Draft Part 75 Policy Manual (5/29/03)

EPA recently released a draft of a revision to its Part 75 and 76 Policy Manual for comments. A copy of the draft revised Policy Manual is available from our FTP Library.

Proposed Subpart GG Revisions (5/29/03)

Revisions to Part 60 Subpart GG, which defines performance standards for stationary combustion turbines, were published in the Federal Register last month. EPA intended the revisions, which were predominately favorable, to be implemented as a direct final rulemaking. However, adverse comments were received so the revisions will go through the regular rule making process. A copy of the proposed revisions is available from our FTP Library.

Proposed Industrial Boiler MACT (5/29/03)

The proposed Industrial Boiler MACT Rule, which is expected to significantly influence the pending utility boiler MACT rule, is a complex rule that includes a number of source categories and the various emission limits. The proposed rule is simply not well done and sets new, and troublesome precedents in a number of areas. For example, the proposed rule contains not only emission limits but associated work practice and operational restrictions that greatly limit boiler operational flexibility. The rule does not recognize compliance margin during the initial performance test. Even if the source is emitting well below the emission limit, the rule restricts future operation of the control devices to those conditions (or better) that exist at the time of the test. The recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the proposed industrial boiler MACT rule are also burdensome and costly and mandate a staggering amount of unnecessary data. A copy of the proposed Industrial Boiler MACT is available from our FTP Library.

EDR Format and Reporting Instructions Changes (3/24/03)

EPA has released changes to the EDR Format and Reporting Instruction documents for both EDR Versions 2.1 and 2.2. While EPA originally stated that "affected sources should make any necessary adjustments to their EDR submittals by July 30, 2003," the Agency changed the compliance date to October 30, 2003. Copies of the Revised EDR Format and Reporting Instructions are located on our FTP Library.

EPA Enhances Electronic Auditing (2/4/03)

EPA has announced that it is instituting new, enhanced electronic auditing procedures to "further improve the quality of the emissions data reported" for compliance with the Acid Rain and NOX Budget Programs. In a presentation at the 2003 Electric Utilities Environmental Conference in Tucson, Arizona, Ms. Theresa Alexander of the Clean Air Markets Division related that EPA was now performing numerous checks of the hourly data. She stated that the Agency was particularly focusing on incorrect bias adjustment factor (BAF) application, addressing missed or belated QA/QC, assessing calibration gas values, and assuring that annual adjustments are made to analyzer MPC/span/range values, as needed. Ms Alexander said that EPA recently sent out over 100 emails to sources with reporting problems, including about 30 with misapplied BAFs, and hopes to establish some sort of "benchmark analysis" to identify the sources that exhibit ongoing problems. A copy of a brief description of the new electronic auditing capabilities provided by EPA is available from our FTP Library.

Proposed CT MACT Rule (2/3/03)

EPA has proposed a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard for combustion turbines (CTs). The CT MACT rule (Subpart YYYY of Part 63) is designed to limit the emissions of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from plant sites that are categorized as major sources. EPA has identified formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, and acetaldehyde as HAP emissions from CTs, with formaldehyde being the HAP emitted in largest quantity.

In the proposal, EPA has identified several subcategories. Emergency and limited use CTs are exempt from the MACT limits, as well as any CTs that combust landfill or digester gas. Other CTs will establish compliance in two ways: (1) by demonstrating compliance with a 43 ppbdv (at 15% O2) emission limit for formaldehyde during annual compliance tests or (2) by demonstrating 95% reduction of CO emissions continually using CEMS. The option to demonstrating compliance with the 43 ppb formaldehyde limit, is only available for "uncontrolled" sources. If a source has an oxidation catalyst for CO control, 95% reduction must be determined. In the preamble to the Subpart YYYY proposal, EPA indicates that most new CTs with lean premix (low NOX) burners should be able to meet the 43 ppb formaldehyde limit without additional control, but diffusion flame type burners would likely require the installation of an oxidation catalyst.

Existing CTs with diffusion-flame type burners are not required to meet the new limits, but new or reconstructed diffusion-flame units must meet the new limits, presumably including oil burners on lean premix CTs since oil burners do not operate in lean premix mode. If a CT with diffusion-flame type burners (or a lean premix unit without a NOX limit) can demonstrate compliance with 43 ppb formaldehyde limit without installing an oxidation catalyst, additional testing, monitoring, or documentation may be required.

The proposed rule is rife with problems. The basis for the emission limits are questionable and based on scant data. Test methods for accurately measuring such low levels of formaldehyde have not been established. Problems exist for trying to measuring CO reductions, particularly at the low levels anticipated. For combined-cycle units, the Subpart YYYY only applies to the turbine emissions--any duct burners would not be covered under the subpart--although it would seem impossible to separate these emissions for the purpose of determining compliance.

A copy of the proposed CT MACT rule is available from our FTP Library. EPA solicits comments on the proposed rule by February 28, 2003.

EDR 2.2 Format and Reporting Instructions (8/27/02)

EPA has released the final version of the EDR Version 2.2 Format and Reporting Instruction documents as well as an implementation guidelines document. Many of the changes reflect the recent Part 75 rule revisions. For most units, the use of EDR 2.2 is optional. EDR 2.2 is required only for a few cases such as new fuel specific missing data provisions, non load-based units, and single stack flow-to-load tests for multiple stack units. Most of the recent rule revisions can be addressed using EDR 2.1. Copies of the EDR 2.2 documents are located on our FTP Library.


Part 75 Rule Revisions Published (6/12/02)

The final revisions to Part 75 were published today (6/12/02) in the Federal Register. The published version finalizes the changes included in the earlier unofficial release and includes a preamble that summarizes and discusses the revisions to the rule. A copy of the Federal Register version as well as an unofficial redline/strikeout version incorporating the final rule revisions have been placed on our FTP Library.

Part 96 and Part 97 Harmonization (4/30/02)

On April 29, 2002, EPA published revisions to various deadlines specified in 40 CFR Part 97 to harmonize these dates with those detailed in 40 CFR Part 96. EPA issued the revisions as a direct final rule without prior proposal and public comment. The Part 97 monitoring certification deadline is now May 1, 2003 and the initial compliance period begins May 31, 2004. The rule revisions apply to both electric generating units (EGUs) and non-EGUs. A copy of the Part 97 direct final rule is available in our FTP Library.

Additionally, on April 22, 2002, EPA issued a notice in response to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals remand concerning the projected heat input growth factors used by EPA to establish State NOx budget allocations under Parts 96 and 97. After conducting a review, EPA concludes "that the methodology used in developing the heat input growth rates and the resulting growth rates are reasonable based on the information available at the time the rules were issued, confirmed by new information concerning activity to date."

Court Upholds PM2.5 and Ground-level Ozone Ambient Air Standards (3/29/02)

The Easter Bunny, in the form of the D.C. Circuit Court, came early to EPA this year. On March 26, 2002, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in favor of EPA and threw out all remaining challenges to EPA's 1997 ambient air standards for fine particle (PM2.5) and ground-level ozone. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel concluded that EPA "engaged in reasoned decision-making" in establishing the 1997 ambient air standards. EPA is now expected to move forward to implement these new standards.

Maps prepared by EPA indicate that there will be numerous non-attainment areas throughout the United States. We expect that significant emission reductions will be required, especially from combustion sources, in attempt to achieve these new standards.

EPA Issues Proposed Revisions to 40 CFR Parts 96 & 97 (2/14/02)

On February 12, 2002, EPA issued proposed revisions to 40 CFR Parts 96 and 97 designed to address issues remanded by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. EPA proposes to:

  • Maintain the definition of cogeneration units with minor revisions to make the definition consistent in both Part 96 and Part 97.
  • Remove portions of Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Missouri from the NOx SIP Call.
  • Modify NOx control levels for stationary internal combustion engines.
  • Revise the state NOx emission budgets based on implementing the three proposed revisions listed above.
  • Establish a compliance date of May 31, 2004 for all affected units with the exception of units in Georgia and Missouri. May 1, 2005 is the proposed compliance date for affected units in Georgia and Missouri.
  • Delete Wisconsin from Part 96.
  • Establish deadlines for States to submit revised State Implementation Plans (SIPs).

In the discussion of postponing the compliance deadline, EPA does not specifically address the postponement of the monitoring system certification deadline. RMB is inclined to believe that the certification deadline will also be delayed one year (i.e., May 1, 2004 for Georgia and Missouri and May 1, 2003 for the remainder of the affected units). Comments concerning EPA's proposed rulemaking are due no later than April 15, 2002. Should a public hearing be requested, the meeting will be scheduled for March 15, 2002 in Washington, D.C. A copy of EPA's proposed rulemaking is available in our FTP Library.

EPA Proposes Extension of Section 126 Deadlines (01/16/02)

For many, a sigh of relief! On January 16, 2002, the Clean Air Markets Division posted a memorandum, issued by John Seitz, Director of EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, which discusses EPA's "intent to harmonize the compliance dates for the NOx SIP Call and Section 126 Rule" for affected electric generating units (EGUs). Currently, the NOx SIP Call requires monitoring systems to be installed and certified by May 1, 2003. The initial NOx SIP Call compliance period begins May 31, 2004. The memorandum also states that EPA intends to postpone the non-EGU Section 126 compliance deadline (i.e., May 1, 2003) to coincide with the NOx SIP Call deadline of May 31, 2004 and that EPA will "adjust other related dates for non-EGUs." Although the memorandum acknowledges that additional action is required to revise the Section 126 deadlines, Mr. Seitz advises the Regional Directors to apprise the respective States of the Agency's intentions. A copy of this memorandum is available in our FTP Library.

While this extension is welcomed, RMB cautions the owners/operators of affected units not to become complacent. CEM vendors are extremely busy with current backlogs of three to five months. As many folks that were attempting to meet the May 1, 2002 certification deadline will attest, May 1 rolls around much sooner than anticipated.

EPA Launches On-line Allowance Transfer System (12/3/01)

On December 3, 2001 EPA launched an On-line Allowance Transfer System (OATS) to allow participants in the Acid Rain (SO2) and NOX Budget allowance markets to record their own allowance transfers. OATS is an internet application that represents an electronic alternative to using the hardcopy allowance transfer forms, allowing users to document allowance transfers either by entering the data on screen or by submitting an XML file.

To use OATS, your browser must support 128-bit encryption. Allowance transfers can only take place if both parties in the transaction each have a registered. Authorized Account Representatives (AAR) and Alternates may register to use OATS by sending an email to salpeter.alex@epa.gov stating your name, phone number and email address. Under the system, AARs may also register individuals as agents who are authorized to submit allowance transfers on behalf of the AAR

RMB reminds sources that registering allowance transfers with the Agency is critical since the EPA database is the official registry of allowance allocations. If a transaction is not registered, EPA may deduct allowances from an account for reconciliation in spite of the fact that two parties may come to a otherwise legal trading agreement over those same allowances.

Recertification and Diagnostic Testing Policy (12/1/01)

On October 24, 2001, EPA issued "Recertification and Diagnostic Testing Policy" which is intended to provide guidance concerning CEMS maintenance activities that trigger recertification and diagnostic test events. This policy document has been issued in a question/answer format and EPA intends to formally incorporate this policy into the Acid Rain Program Policy Manual in the near future. In at least one instance, this policy contradicts existing policy statements in the Policy Manual. For example, the "Recertification and Diagnostic Testing Policy" states that replacing an umbilical with a "like-kind" umbilical triggers a complete recertification event rather than a diagnostic event as specified in Question 13.19. EPA has stated that the newly released policy takes precedence and that conflicting questions in the Policy Manual will be revised or retired.

Curiously, this policy states that "EPA recognizes that this guidance cannot possibly address every situation that may arise and is not binding for situations that it does address." Unfortunately, a failure to adhere to this policy may leave a source vulnerable to enforcement actions. This policy increases the importance of clear lines of communication between the CEMS technicians, personnel responsible for generating EDRs, and personnel responsible for providing regulatory expertise. Additionally, these diagnostic test provisions may require modifications to current CEMS maintenance strategies (from reactive to preventive) to avoid excessive quality assurance tests during a quarter. For additional information concerning EPA's latest policy decisions or for assistance in developing preventive CEMS maintenance strategies, please contact RMB. A copy of the "Recertification and Diagnostic Testing Policy" is available in our FTP Library.

Rectangular Duct Survey Participants Needed (08/08/01)

RMB has been asked by EPRI and the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) to develop a research project to more fully evaluate the impact of wall effects in rectangular ducts and provide the EPA with sufficient information to permit wall effects corrections for rectangular ducts. The goal of this effort is to assist and motivate the Agency to promulgate test method revisions (both measurement-based approaches and reasonable default correction factors) that address wall effects when flow is measured in non-circular stacks. To assist us in this effort, we are asking any interested parties to complete a survey that will help us identify units that monitor emissions in rectangular duct or stack locations. This will help us both in our research as well as in appraising the overall economic impact for our discussions with the Agency. Please visit our FTP Library to download a copy of the survey.

CAM Alert (7/17/01)

Is your Title V permit renewal imminent? All Title V permitted sources equipped with a control device (e.g., an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) for particulate control) must include a compliance assurance monitoring (CAM) protocol in the Title V permit renewal application for every major emission point. Since the final CAM rule allows the use of continuous emission monitoring (CEM) to serve as CAM for SO2 and NOX, the primary hurdle facing utilities is the development of CAM protocols for particulate control devices. The development of a CAM protocol for an ESP can be a complex and time consuming task. The owner/operator must (1) develop a CAM protocol, (2) conduct testing to verify that the monitoring approach is feasible and (3) develop a corrective action plan. Additionally, RMB recommends that sufficient time be allotted to perform a trial run of the CAM plan prior to submittal of the final protocol to avoid potential compliance issues. This process can take up to three to six months to complete. In accordance with 40 CFR 70.5(a)(1)(iii), a permit renewal application must be submitted no later than six months prior to the expiration date of the current Title V permit.

RMB has conducted two extensive research projects for EPRI on the development of CAM protocols for ESPs. Additionally, RMB is currently providing CAM-related consulting services to several utilities.

Proposed Part 75 Revisions Published (6/14/01)

EPA's anticipated proposed revisions to Part 75 were published in the Federal Register on June 13, 2001. The changes, which are intended to steamline the rule while providing technical corrections and regulatory flexibility, effect a considerable number of provisions within the rule that will impact both Acid Rain and NOX Budget Program sources.

The proposed revisions include:

  • Changes intended to streamlining the rule and eliminate outdated provisions
  • Revisions to the natural gas definitions and related testing requirements
  • Changes to the definitions of unit and stack operating hours for QA purposes
  • Initial certification application deadlines changes
  • Modifications effecting what happens when a unit loses peaking, gas-fired, or LME status
  • Significant revisions to the missing data substitution procedures
  • Changes intended to address units that produce electrical or thermal output
  • Revised maximum potential moisture provisions
  • Method of determination codes changes
  • Significant changes to the low mass emissions (LME) provisions
  • Changes for CEMS span and range evaluations
  • Modifications of the procedures to determine NOX MPC, MEC, span, and range values
  • Changes to the 7-day calibration error test for peaking units
  • Tightened calibration standards for units with span values less than 50 ppm
  • Changes to the flow-to-load ratio test
  • Modifications to the data analysis time period for single-load flow RATA claims
  • Changes to the way for monitoring plan information is updated/reported
  • Revisions impacting reporting and testing requirements for emergency fuel use
  • Changes to the frequency of retesting of Appendix E units

A copy of the federal register version of the proposed rule revisions and a redline/strikeout version of 40 CFR parts 72 and 75 incorporating the proposed changes are available from our FTP Library.

Subpart Da Changes Made Effective (6/12/01)

EPA has removed two objectionable provisions from its proposed revisions to Subpart Da of 40 CFR Part 60. The Agency removed the provision that would have required the use of Part 75 missing data procedures for use in determining compliance with the Part 60 emission limitations. It also removed a change that would have significantly altered the definition of a boiler operating day. The remainder of the proposed changes, which address most of the problems that had been associated with trying to implement the testing and monitoring procedures on auxiliary-fired combined-cycle combustion turbines, have been made immediately effective.

DC Circuit Decision on Section 126 Rule (5/22/01)

On May 15, 2001, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision regarding EPA's section 126 rule. As you may recall, EPA issued its final rule to control NOx emissions from a variety of stationary sources on December 18, 2000. Numerous petitioners challenged practically every aspect of the rule. A copy of the DC Circuit Court's decision can be downloaded from our FTP Library.

Although the Court upheld most aspects of the section 126 rule (codified as 40 CFR Part 97), the Court remanded the rule to EPA and directed the Agency to address two components of the rule. Specifically, the Court directed EPA to: "(1) properly justify either the current or a new set of EGU utilization growth factors to be used in estimating utilization in 2007, and (2) either alter or properly justify its categorization of cogenerators that sell electricity to the electric grid as EGUs."

Note that the Court did not postpone the section 126 CEMS certification and compliance deadlines (i.e., May 1, 2002 and May 1, 2003, respectively) to coincide with the associated deadlines specified in the NOx SIP Call (codified as 40 CFR Part 96). RMB understands that an appeal has been made directly to the EPA Administrator, encouraging her to make the section 126 timeline congruent with the NOx SIP Call timeline.

RMB's current experience is that CEMS and DAHS vendors are citing backlogs of approximately 4 to 6 months. However, as these various compliance deadlines approach, equipment delivery times will likely increase. Furthermore, the implementation of the NOX Budget programs (section 126 and the NOX SIP call) is coinciding with a trend in replacing/upgrading CEMS equipment in the electric utility industry. This fact may further extend CEM equipment delivery schedules.

A copy of RMB's NOx trading program "white paper" is also available in our FTP Library. The paper provides an introduction to the compliance issues associated with the NOx budget programs established by 40 CFR Parts 96 and 97.

PS-1 Delayed (2/6/01)

Today, EPA confirmed that revisions to Performance Specification 1 (PS-1) are put on hold for at least 60 days [Federal Register (February 6, 2001)]. EPA takes this action in accordance with the January 24th memorandum from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff titled, "Regulatory Review Plan."

EPA finalized revisions to PS-1 on August 10, 2000. The revisions to PS-1, which apply to continuous opacity monitors, were to be effective 180 days thereafter (i.e., February 6, 2001). The revisions to PS-1 were intended to clarify and update requirements for source owner/operators who are required by EPA to install and operate continuous opacity monitors. The revisions also update design and performance validation requirements for continuous opacity monitoring systems. Fortunately, PS-1 applies only to new and/or relocated continuous opacity monitoring systems.

Acid Rain Policy Manual Update (12/27/00)

EPA has released another update to its Acid Rain Program Policy Manual. Update #13 focuses primarily on reporting issues. The issues addressed include flow RATA reporting, flow-to-load tests for multiple stacks and fuel flow meters, use of default high range, overscaling, monitoring plan submittal, fuel flow meter calibration, and NOX buget reporting options. A copy of the update is available in our FTP Library.

NOx SIP Findings (12/20/00)

On December 19, 2000, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA issued a finding that 11 States and the District of Columbia failed to submit a complete state implementation plan (SIP) for NOX reductions as required by 40 CFR Part 96. These 11 States and the District of Columbia must now submit a complete SIP to EPA within the next 18 months. Failure to submit a complete SIP within 18 months requires that EPA issue an emissions offset sanction. Additionally, if a State fails to submit an approved SIP within 6 months after the offset sanction is issued, then EPA can impose limitations on federal highway funds. Finally, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to issue a federal implementation plan (FIP) within two years of issuing such a finding if a State still has not submitted an approved SIP. It is anticipated that a FIP would be significantly less flexible for industrial sources.

On a second front, the U.S. Court of Appeals, on December 15, 2000, began hearing oral arguments concerning the Section 126 rule (i.e., 40 CFR Part 97) as part of the Appalachian Power Company versus EPA lawsuit. At a minimum, the litigants hope to postpone the Section 126 compliance deadlines to coincide with those specified in 40 CFR Part 96. Given the array of litigation surrounding these two rules, many affected sources appear to have taken a "wait-and-see" approach. However, if the Court upholds the Section 126 compliance deadlines, affected sources currently without monitoring systems would face a significant challenge to install and certify monitoring systems by the current deadline of May 1, 2002.

Mercury Announcement (12/15/00)

In one of the worse kept secrets in recent memory, lame duck EPA Administrator, Carol Browner announced on December 14th that she finds . . . "regulation of HAP emissions from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units under section 112 of the CAA is appropriate and necessary." EPA's Federal Register notice as well as additional information can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/uatw/combust/utiltox/utoxpg.html#REG

In our brief review of the Federal Register announcement, RMB finds a number of troubling statements. Of course, EPA's decision turns on the fact that coal-fired power plants are a significant source in mercury emissions in the United States and that a number of States have fish advisories for mercury. The problem with the Agency's "connect the dot" logic is that, as EPA acknowledges, it does not know how much mercury in the fish consumed in the U.S is due to mercury emissions from power plants. It would seem to RMB that if EPA does not know where the mercury in fish is coming from, then how does the Agency know that reducing mercury emissions from power plants would reduce mercury in fish. Sure beats us!

Stay tuned from what promises to be an interesting and perhaps sometimes contentious rule making process.

NOx Budget Program Compliance (12/05/00)

RMB recently prepared a "white paper" that provides an overview of the NOx trading program requirements established by 40 CFR Part 96 and 40 CFR Part 97 (also known as the NOx SIP rule and the Section 126 rule, respectively). The paper provides an introduction to the compliance issues associated with the NOx budget programs. A copy of this paper is available in our FTP Library.


NOX SIP Call (09/22/00)

On September 20, 2000, EPA finalized its proposed stay of the 8-hour basis of the NOX SIP Call Rule. EPA had issued the proposed stay after the U.S. Court of Appeals remanded the 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). Because the Court remanded, but did not vacate, the 8-hour standard, EPA argues that it is premature to completely withdraw the 8-hour basis of the NOX SIP Call Rule. Additionally, EPA argues that adjustments to the emissions reductions required by the rule are not necessary because the specified reductions are necessary to achieve either the 1-hour or 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that EPA must postpone the May 1, 2003 NOX SIP compliance deadline until May 31, 2004 in order to provide States with the 43-month compliance period specified in the NOX SIP Call Rule. However, many NOX SIP affected sources are also subject to the requirements specified in Part 97 (i.e., the Section 126 rule). Although legal maneuvering is certainly underway, at this juncture, the Part 97 May 1, 2003 compliance date has not been postponed to coincide with the NOX SIP deadline. RMB cautions that the deadline for the installation and certification of continuous emission monitoring systems precedes the applicable compliance deadlines by 1 year.


Comments Requested on Draft NOX BACT Guidance (08/17/00)

EPA is requesting public comments on a preliminary draft of its pending BACT guidance document for NOX control on dry low NOX combined-cycle turbines. The Agency is particularly interested in comments regarding whether selective catalytic reduction (SCR) represents the appropriate best available control technology (BACT) for NOX on natural gas-fired combined-cycle turbines. EPA will be taking comments on the draft guidance until 30 days after a notice of availability is published in the Federal Register. A copy of the draft guidance document can be found on our FTP Library.

Opacity Monitoring Requirements (PS1) Revisions Promulgated (08/10/00)

Final revisions Performance Specification 1 (PS1), the portion of 40 CFR Part 60 which details specifications and test procedures for continuous opacity monitoring from stationary sources, were published in the Federal Register today on August 10, 2000. In an "ASTM Opacity Update" received by RMB this week, Jim Peeler stated that the PS1 revisions adopted ASTM D6216-98 in its entirety (by reference) and that the balance of the changes to PS1 are expected to be consistent with ASTM D6216-98 recommendations. EPA's Solomon Ricks advised that EPA intends, in October of this year, to reopen the "comment period" for the 1992 proposed Method 203 (i.e., QA/QC requirements for opacity monitors). EPA plans to promulgate Method 203 by "direct final rule" in 2001. A copy of the PS1 revisions published in the Federal Register is available from our FTP Library.

Part 75 Reporting Extension (07/20/00)

EPA has extended the deadline for submitting Part 75 quarterly reports (EDR files) to August 14, 2000 and has posted a notice on their website to this effect. It has also come to our attention that EPA recognizes that the June 28 EDR revisions might be difficult to implement prior to the deadline for the second quarter and that failure to implement those revisions should not trigger resubmission. While the recent revisions to the EDR format and instruction documents, which are available from our FTP Library, do include a number of new codes for various data files, the changes primarily reflect clarifications and technical corrections to the existing requirements.

Federally Permitted Releases (06/27/00)

On the June 27th, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register stating that the Agency has officially suspended the "Interim Guidance" contained in the document titled, Interim Guidance on the CERCLA Section 101 Federally Permitted Release Definition for Certain Air Emissions. The notice goes on to state that EPA intends to issue a revised guidance document to replace the "Interim Guidance" during July 2000. The Interim Guidance was originally published in the Federal Register on December 21, 1999. Perhaps of more significance are the following statements, which are quoted from the June 27th notice.

"EPA suspended the Interim Guidance until the revisions are issued. This means that EPA will not rely on or cite the suspended Interim Guidance in any actions, including actions to enforce the reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)."

Natural Gas Definition "Resolution" (06/26/00)

EPA has published guidance intended to provide "resolution" of issues regarding the "natural gas" and "pipeline natural gas" definitions. In the May 1999 revisions, EPA introduced a new definition for pipeline natural gas and natural gas in section 72.2. For "pipeline natural gas" H2S was limited to 0.3 gr/100 scf and it was stipulated that H2S must constitute at least 50% of the total sulfur content. The definition was changed because of Agency concerns that use of default SO2 emission factors might result in under reporting for some sources. The new definition, however, has been problematic because EPA is requiring significant testing for sources whose gas supplier contracts (tariffs) that include greater sulfur "limits" to demonstrate that the definition is met in order to use the 0.0006 lb/106 Btu default value. The new definition has resulted in considerable confusion and unnecessary fuel sampling and analysis since many contracts specify a maximum total sulfur contents of 20 gr/100 scf and this upper limit is generally many, many times greater than actual sulfur contents. This situation was further complicated since the "H2S > 50% total sulfur" portion of the definition was poorly written, and there was no guidance for demonstrating compliance with the total sulfur requirement.

Based on several recent statements by EPA staff, it appeared that EPA was reconsidering the pipeline natural gas definition or, at least, the extent of testing required for demonstration purposes. It appeared that the Agency was beginning to accept the fact that, while gas contracts may have higher limits, these values are generally not indicative of the actual sulfur contents. At a recent meeting, EPA stated that the "number (the contract total sulfur value) is generally not representative of the actual total sulfur content of the gas--it is usually many times higher." However, the recently issued guidance does not reflect much enlightenment in this regard.

The "resolution" ignores the fact that the qualifying testing specified in Sections 2.3.1.4 and 2.3.2.4 in Appendix D of revised Part 75 to demonstrate compliance with the H2S specifications are simply unnecessary. Utilities with supplier contracts that do not meet the definition must still demonstrate the characteristics of the gas using one year of sampling data or a "short-term" test based on 720 hourly samples collected either manually or sampled using an in-line gas chromatograph. This testing requirement was maintained regardless of the overwhelming data supplied to the agency showing the negligible nature of sulfur contents of the US natural gas supply. In its guidance, the Agency did not correct/waive these unnecessary testing requirements but only addresses the "H2S > 50% total sulfur" portion of the definition.

Regarding "H2S > 50% total sulfur" the specification is redefined under the guidance dictating that the total sulfur content of the gaseous fuel must be less than or equal to 2.0 gr/ 100 scf for natural gas or 0.6 gr/100 scf for pipeline natural gas. Utilities must establish whether their gas supply meets this portion of the definition by taking at least one sample of the gaseous fuel currently combusted in the unit and analyze the sample for total sulfur content on or before the July 30, 2000. This "resolves" some of the "anomalies in the classification of gaseous fuels" that were precipitated by EPA revised natural gas definitions. A copy of the EPA natural gas and pipeline natural gas "resolution" guidance can be found in our FTP Library.

NOx SIP Call (06/26/00)

On June 22, 2000, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay of EPA's NOx SIP Call. The 22 states and the District of Columbia now have until September 1, 2000 to submit their Phase 1 SIPs. The NOx SIP compliance date is May 1, 2003. Several sources within these states are also subject to the requirements specified in 40 CFR Part 97. EPA has stated that it will withdraw the federal requirements for these Part 97 affected sources, provided that the state submits a SIP revision meeting all of the requirements of both phases of the NOx SIP Call. The litigants may appeal the Court's ruling to the Supreme Court and are also said to be considering legislative options.

Public Meeting Discusses Potential Utility Mercury Regulations (06/22/00)

On June 13, 2000, EPA's Office of Air and Radiation hosted a one-day public meeting to take comments on whether the Agency should decide to regulate mercury emissions from coal-fired utility plants. Ralph Roberson, of RMB, attended the meeting and presented testimony on behalf of the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG). The bottom line of the utility industry's argument is that EPA should not be forced into making a regulatory decision by some arbitrary deadline. Rather, EPA should wait for the completion of ongoing mercury research projects so that the Agency will be in position to make a scientifically informed regulatory determination.

San Antonio CEMS Conference Papers (06/12/00)

The papers prepared by RMB personnel for the EPRI CEM Users Group Meeting in San Antonio have been posted to our website. These papers have been formatted for convenient viewing and printing directly from your web browser. Included are Steve Norfleet and Rob Barton's paper on

the Impact of Wall Effects on Flue Gas Velocities in Rectangular Ducts and Recommended Revisions to EPA Reference Method 2H, Richard McRanie's paper discussing Low Level NOX Measurements and Related Compliance Issues on Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Units, Russell Berry's paper on Evaluating Measurement Biases in CEMS and Steve Norfleet and Mack McLeod's paper regarding Certification and Performance Testing of Combustion Turbines.

NAAQS Hearings - Something for Everyone (05/31/00)

On May 30th, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear industry arguments that EPA must consider costs when reviewing and setting national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This decision comes just 7 days after the High Court agreed to hear EPA's appeal of an earlier decision by the D.C. Circuit Court. Of course, in that decision the D.C. Circuit struck down EPA's revised ozone NAAQS and new fine particle (PM2.5) NAAQS. In simplest terms, the D.C Circuit decision's was based on the finding that EPA failed to use "intelligible principles" in explaining how the Agency arrived at the new and revised standards. The Supreme Court is expected to begin hearing these arguments when it reconvenes this Fall. A decision is not expected until 2001. Stay tuned for what promises to be monumental court decisions.

EPA Interpretative Rule - New Version (05/31/00)

On May 25th, EPA published in the Federal Register an interpretative rule that clarifies the Agency's position with respect to the requirements of Sections 112(g) and 112(j) of the Clean Air Act. This Federal Register notice also formally withdraws the interpretative rule that was erroneously published on April 21st. The bottom line of the interpretative rule appears to be that EPA considers the term "electric utility steam generating unit" to mean those things that we typically call boilers, when the steam is expanded through a turbine to spin a generator. Since combustion turbines are not boilers, they must not be "electric utility steam generating units." However, if you hang a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) behind the combustion turbine and use that steam to make electricity, then you have both a combustion turbine and an electric utility steam generating unit.

This interpretative rule does address a couple of substantive issues. First, the rule is prospective and becomes "legally effective and binding on June 26, 2000." Second, since combustion turbines are not electric utility steam generating units, the interpretative rule states that case-by-case MACT determinations are required for all new or reconstructed combustion turbines that satisfy the definition of a major stationary source. A copy of this interpretative rule can be downloaded from our FTP Library.

Federal NOx Budget Program (05/15/00)

On January 18, 2000, EPA published 40 CFR Part 97, Federal NOx Budget Trading Program, also referred to as the Section 126 rule. This rule was established by EPA after determining that the Section 126 petitions filed by eight northeastern states demonstrated that specific upwind electric generating units (EGUs) and industrial boilers and turbines (non-EGUs) significantly contributed to nonattainment or maintenance problems in the petitioning States. Part 97 establishes the Federal NOx Budget Trading Program as a control remedy for sources affected by this rule. Appendix A to Part 97 provides a listing of the EGUs and non-EGUs affected by the rule, as well as the NOx allowance allocations for each unit.

Although Part 97 establishes the framework of this federal program, the requirements specified in Part 75 serve as the foundation of the rule's monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting and quality assurance/quality control procedures. A NOx Budget Program Application must be submitted no later than November 1, 2001. Monitoring systems must be installed and provisionally certified by May 1, 2002. Compliance with the NOx Budget Trading Program begins May 1, 2003.

A copy of 40 CFR Part 97 can be downloaded from our FTP library.

EPA Acid Rain/NOX Budget Meeting Summary (04/11/00)

RMB has prepared a summary of the possible Part 75 revisions that were discussed during the EPA Acid Rain/NOX Budget Meeting that was held in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2000. A copy of the summary can be downloaded from our FTP Library.

Policy Manual Update (03/20/00)

EPA has released Update #12 to the Acid Rain Program Policy Manual which includes over eighty new policy questions. Update #12 introduces two new sections to the Manual: (1) Section 22: Subtractive Stack Configurations and (2) Section 24: Common Stack NOx Emission Rate Monitoring and Apportionment. Update #12 also formally incorporates many of the previously issued questions and answers from the October 1999 Implementation Conference and the November 1999 ESC Users Group Meeting. The contact list provided in Appendix A, as well as the "Quarterly Report Review Process for Determining Final Annual Data" in Appendix C has also been revised. A copy of Update #12 is located in our FTP Library.

What's New With EPA's Mercury ICR? (03/13/00)

Recently, while speaking with the contractor (Research Triangle Institute) who is supporting EPA on its mercury information collection request (ICR) project, we learned that some utility companies have not submitted the fuel usage data for one of more units subject to the ICR requirements. The fuel usage data are not the same data as the shipment and analysis information.

RMB believes that boiler-by-boiler fuel usage data are critical to developing accurate estimates of mercury emissions. We encourage anyone who has not submitted the requested fuel usage data to EPA to do so as soon as possible. The ICR Web Site contains a section on how to enter these data, or you may call the mercury EPA/ICR Hotline Staff at (800) 262-3011 x2.

EDR-AUDIT Users Group Meeting (03/07/00)

An EDR-AUDIT Users Group Meeting is being planned for May 23 at the Westin La Cantera in San Antonio, Texas. Topics for discussion include future development plans and priorities, the new features incorporated in EDR-AUDIT Version 6.1, which will be released at the users group meeting, and a question and answer period to help you learn to use the software to its fullest. For your convenience, the users group meeting will be held from 2-6 PM on the day prior to the beginning of the EPRI CEM Conference, which is being held at the same location. Please contact Steve Norfleet at (919) 510-5102, ext. 123 if you wish to attend.

EPA's NOX SIP Call Upheld (03/07/00)

In a surprising decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld by a 2-1 vote EPA's NOX SIP Call, a plan to force 22 states reduce NOX emissions in order to reduce regional transport of ground-level ozone. In light of the court's decision last year to indefinately stay the deadline for states to submit their NOX control plans, Friday's decision stunned both supporters and opponents alike. An appeal against Friday's ruling is likely.

It is unclear what will happen next. EPA had originally set September 1999 as the deadline for states to submit their implementation plans and it is uncertain how much time EPA will now give states to prepare their SIPs or whether EPA will delay the SIP call's effective date, originally set for May 2003. It is also uncertain whether the indefinate stay on SIP submissions is still in effect since Friday's ruling did not appear to technically lift last year's ruling.

EDR 2.1 and Reporting Instruction Revisions (02/14/00)

Once again EPA released another set of revisions to the EDR 2.1 format document and related reporting instructions. Copies of these revised documents, as well as a summary of the revisions, are located in RMB's FTP library.

Consolidated Version of Part 75 (12/27/99)

EPA recently released an unofficial consolidated version of Part 75, as well as an "errata document" which includes proposed revisions and clarifications to Part 75 that EPA anticipates implementing in 2000. A copy of this the consolidated Part 75 and errata document can be downloaded from our FTP Library.

Use of Default WAF Limited to 12 or 16 Point Flow Traverses (12/17/99)

In response to a recent question concerning Method 2H default wall-affect factors (WAFs), EPA stated that the default WAFs can be applied to Method 1 traverses consisting of 12 or 16 points. EPA stated that applying default WAFs to Method 1 traverses of greater than 16 points might "overcorrect" for velocity decay. A copy of the WAF policy question/answer can be obtained from our FTP Library.

The justification for EPA limiting the use of the default WAF to 12 or 16 point flow traverses is that "the default WAF values specified in Method 2H (i.e., 0.9900 for brick and mortar stacks and 0.9950 for all other types of stacks) were derived [albeit, ultra-conservatively] based on field data from 16-point Method 1 traverses." While this statement is true, a more flexible approach could also be suggested based on the field test data. The test data from both the EPA and EPRI flow studies overwelmingly show that the near-wall velocity decay tends to only be a significant factor within the first 6 to 8 inches from the wall. Beyond this near-wall region, certainly beyond 12 inches, the flow measurements are indicative of the bulk stack flow. Understanding this, one could propose that the default WAF could be extended to flow traverses consisting of more than 16 points if the nearest of those traverse were 12 or more inches from the stack wall. Permitting the extended use of the default WAF, would not penalize sources that would opt to use a greater number of traverse points to obtain a more precise characterization of the bulk stack flow. Disallowing the default WAF creates a disincentive to sources that might otherwise choose to measure additional traverse points.

However, as a practical matter, the wall effects measurements only take about an hour and usually result in greater corrections than the default factors. Utilities that are interested in the most precise wall correction factors should consider making the measurements.

CAM Challenge Ruled "Unripe" By D.C. Circuit Court (11/03/99)

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) litigated the Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Rule claiming that the rule did not effect enough large sources and that the continuous versus intermittent certification procedure in the rule was not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Clean Air Act. In the same action, industry (including the utility industry) litigated the requirement to provide "other material information" including "credible evidence" with the compliance certification. Industry claimed that by including such information it would be required to "abandon any rights they might have to defend against the use of that evidence in enforcement proceedings."

With respect to NRDC's claims, the court rejected the applicability claim but agreed with the continuous versus intermittent claim. The court remanded the rule back to EPA to fix the language so that a source has to certify whether compliance is continuous or intermittent not just whether the data are continuous or intermittent. This is a significant loss for the industry because where intermittent data are being used some judgement must be made concerning compliance status.

With respect to the industry claims, the court ruled that the case is not ripe because an actual enforcement case has not been brought. It was interesting to note that the court suggested that industry could add a caveat to its certification to the effect that, "while it is providing other evidence which EPA might find material, the submitter disputes its materiality and reserves the right to challenge the use of the evidence in court."

We have added the complete court ruling to our FTP library for your download. The ruling is fairly short and is reasonably well written. The file is a text file and we apologize for its appearance.

Part 75 Implementation Conference (10/21/99)

On October 19, 1999, EPA hosted the Part 75 Implementation Conference in Washington, DC. Topics included, but were not limited to: Part 75 rule revisions, Acid Rain Program Policy Manual revisions, EDR v2.1 and quarterly reporting, and new flow Reference Methods. A few key meeting notes are listed below:

  • The Acid Rain Division (ARD) will gradually change its title to the Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD). This name change is designed to reflect ARD's increasing role in other Cap and Trade Programs (e.g., NOx Budget Program).
  • The Policy Manual and EDR v2.1 Instructions Manual will be updated on a quarterly basis as necessary.
  • In the future, ARD intends to address technical equipment issues in the Policy Manual and reporting issues in the EDR Instructions Manual. ARD hopes to avoid conflicting reporting guidance (as seen in the past) by cross referencing the EDR Instructions in applicable Policy Manual answers.
  • ARD intends to issue an unofficial complete copy of Part 75 in November 1999.
  • Quarterly Reports may be submitted in EDR v2.1 format on or after January 1, 2000. Quarterly Reports must be submitted in EDR v2.1 format beginning the Second Quarter of 2000. Any utility that anticipates not complying with the required submittal date is urged to forewarn the Agency as soon as possible.
  • New rejection and critical error checks will be added to the ETS software and existing checks will be upgraded to either rejection or critical error status.
  • ETS feedback reports will be reformatted to group error messages in one of the three following error categories: (1) Rejection, (2) Critical, and (3) Educational. This change is designed to facilitate the review of EPA's EDR comments.
  • ARD intends to respond to questions raised during the conference as well as additional questions submitted to the Agency in the next couple of weeks. These questions and answers will be incorporated into the Policy Manual or EDR Instructions Manual during the quarterly revisions.

Revised Acid Rain Policy Manual (10/18/99)

On October 15, EPA published the Revised Acid Rain Program Policy Manual which supercedes Policy Manual Updates #1 through # 11. EPA interim policy releases since the publication of the revised Part 75 rule have been added to the applicable sections of this Manual. For example, the Implementation Guidelines have been added as Question 1.12 to Section 1 and flow monitoring policy concerning the new 3-D Reference Methods has been included in Section 3. Numerous questions have also been revised and/or relocated to other Sections of the document.

Additionally, USEPA issued a Retired Questions document, which includes over 90 outdated or inconsistent policy questions and answers. This document is designed to present a historical perspective of the Acid Rain Program only and may not be used for compliance purposes. Copies of the Revised Acid Rain Program Policy Manual and Retired Questions may be downloaded from our FTP Library. RMB anticipates that more updates to the Policy Manual will follow in the near future.

Annual Span Evaluation Due 12/31/99 (10/18/99)


As previously noted, EPA has issued a guidelines for implementing the May 26, 1999 revisions to Part 75. A copy of EPA's Implementation Guidelines can be found in RMB's FTP Library. EPA identified six categories of rule revisions with associated time lines for implementation. In an effort to keep affected sources abreast on these phased-in Part 75 requirements, RMB will periodically post notices similar to the span evaluation discussion below to our website.

The span/range evaluation required in Appendix A, Sections 2.1.1.5, 2.1.2.5, 2.1.3.3 and 2.1.4.3 for SO2, NOx, CO2 and flow monitors, respectively, must be completed by December 31, 1999. The completion of the span evaluation was identified as a Category 3 provision in EPA's Implementation Guidelines. Consistent with Appendix A to Part 75, the owner or operator must conduct a periodic evaluation of the maximum potential concentration, maximum expected concentration, span and range for each pollutant and volumetric flow monitor. Future periodic evaluations must be performed annually-at minimum. The span setting should ensure that the readings during normal operation are between 20% and 80% of full-scale range, to the extent practical. Adjustments may be required when changes are made to the fuel supply, unit operation, or installation for air pollution control equipment.

The owner or operator is required to maintain a copy of the most recent span evaluation on-site in a form suitable for inspection. Each span change must be made within 45 days after the end of the quarter in which the evaluation was conducted. However, up to 90 days after the end of the quarter may be taken to implement the span change if the calibration gases currently used for the calibration error tests and linearity checks are unsuitable for the new span. Moreover, whenever a span change is sufficient to render the calibration gases unsuitable for use, a linearity check must be passed as a diagnostic test. Data is considered invalid from the hour of adjusting the span until the successful completion of a linearity check.

Both the hardcopy and the electronic EDR version of the Monitoring Plan must be updated whenever changes are made to an analyzer's span. The changes to the Monitoring Plan must be made in the quarter for which the span adjustment was made. For the hardcopy Monitoring Plan, the designated representative is required to submit only those portions of the document that have changed.

Additional Flow Monitoring Policy Guidance (09/18/99)

EPA released additional flow monitoring policy guidance question and answers, which RMB has added to the zipped file containing the original Q&As document in our FTP library. The majority of the new questions regard Method 2H and wall effects correction factors.

RMB takes exception to the answer given to Question 2 in the "Additional Q&As on the Flow Test Methods" document. The Q&A document suggests that different flow test methods may be used at different load levels (e.g., using Method 2F at high- and mid-loads and Method 2 at low-load) only with "valid technical reasons" for doing so and that "evidence" justifying the reasons should be included in the field test report and kept on-site." It is further stated that "reducing the time required to complete a RATA at a particular load level is not in itself an adequate technical justification for using different test methods at different load levels."

The answer to Question 2 is troubling for a number of reasons. There is no requirement in rule that would preclude sources from using different methods for RATAs at different load levels. The rule makes it clear that each load level RATA is independent and treats the results from Methods 2, 2G and 2F as equally valid. Nor is there any requirement to justify or provide evidence to defend the use of one method over another. There is no technical reason why sources should not be allowed to use different methods. If a source chooses to use Method 2F to eliminate the impact of non-axial flow components at high loads, it should also be allowed to use Method 2 at low loads if it deems that benefit of reduced testing time outweighs the impact of the inherent high bias in Method 2 at loads where the unit infrequently operates. Requiring sources to use Method 2F at all loads would pose an unnecessary difficulty on sources since operating the unit at low loads for extended periods is often inhibited by economic operation or load demands. Reducing test time at infrequently used loads is certainly a valid reason for choosing to use different test methods.

Flow Monitoring Policy Guidance (09/02/99)

EPA released flow monitoring policy guidance to answer questions that might arise when applying the new flow Test Methods 2F, 2 G and 2H. The question and answer style guidance addresses recommended procedures for implementing the new flow methods, reporting requirements associated with the test methods, and specific guidance regarding the application of Method 2H wall effect correction factors. A copy of the flow monitoring policy guidance document is located in our FTP library.

EPA Releases Additonal Part 75 Guidance and Technical Corrections to Reporting Instructions and EDR 2.1(08/20/99)

EPA released another set of question and answer style guidance concerning the recent revisions to 40 CFR Part 75 as well as tecnical revisions to both the EDR 2.1 format document and related reporting instructions. Copies of these new and revised documents are located in RMB's FTP library.

Time Table for Implementation of Part 75 Rule Revisions (07/23/99)

EPA has prepared a time table outlining implementation deadlines for various provisions in the recent revisions to Part 75. The time table identifies dates when the provisions are first allowed and when provisions are mandatory. It also provides reporting guidelines, including interim guidance for the period before EDR v. 2.1 can be used. A copy of the implementation time table is located in our FTP library.

Low-level NOX Monitoring Interest Group Meeting Minutes (07/22/99)

The minutes from the meeting of the Low-Level NOX Monitoring Interest Group hosted by EPRI in conjunction with the recent EPRI CEM User Group Meeting have been posted to our FTP Library.

EPA Guidance on Part 75 Revisions (07/21/99)

As anticipated, EPA is already releasing clarifications and guidance in response to questions concerning the revisions to Part 75 published in the Federal Register on May 26, 1999. On July 16, 1999, EPA released answers to a series of recent Part 75 questions. Topics include, but are not limited to, EDR Version 2.1, Appendix E, linearity procedures, and DCAS.

EPA states that the Acid Rain Program Policy Manual will be updated in September 1999 and that the EDR 2.1 instructions will be updated on July 20,1999. EPA intends to release a draft consolidated version of Part 75 later this year. EPA will also periodically update the EDR Version 2.1 instructions as well as answers to questions. A copy of EPA's recent question and answer session is located in RMB's FTP library.

EPA Flow Methods - Technical Corrections (07/15/99)

EPA recently published technical corrections to its three new, flow measurement methods 2F, 2G, and 2H. These corrections were published in the Federal Register, Vol. 64, 37196 on July 9th and Vol. 64, 38241 on July 15th. These two Federal Register notices are also posted to our FTP library.

Cincinnati EPRI CEM Users Group Conference Papers Posted (06/17/99)

The papers presented by RMB personnel at the EPRI CEM Users Group Meeting in Cincinnati have been posted to our website. Two papers detail the results of EPRI Compliance Assurance Monitoring Field Test Program. The first, Evaluation of Continuous Particulate Matter (PM) Monitors for Coal-Fired Utility Boilers with Electrostatic Precipitators, presents the PM monitor data from the study. The second, Evaluation of Electrostatic Precipitator Performance Models to Estimate Particulate Emissions From Coal-Fired Utility Boilers, discusses the results of ESP models that were tested during the field tests. Advanced QA/QC for Part 75 CEMS describes the results of an extensive CEMS performance data review that was performed as part of an ongoing EPRI project to enhance CEMS performance and/or reduce CEMS operation and maintenance costs. The final paper provides A Status Report on the 1999 Update of EPRI'S CEM Guidelines Document, which RMB is in the process of revising.

New Stack Flow Reference Methods to Become Final (06/17/99)

No adverse comments were received by EPA on the new stack flow reference methods 2F, 2G and 2H that were published in the Federal Register on May 14. The new methods will, therefore, become effective on July 13, 1999. These new methods will reduce SO2, CO2 and NOX mass emissions over reporting by addressing the non-axial flow and wall effects biases in EPA's original stack flow reference method.

Wall Effects Credit For Rectangular Ducts (06/01/99)

The newly proposed EPA Reference Method 2H allows utilities to perform tests to determine wall-effect credits for correcting the measured volumetric flow rate. The method also incorporates default correction factors, albeit very conseravtive ones, that can be used without testing (1% for rough wall stacks and 0.5% for smooth wall stacks and ducts). Method 2H, however, is only applicable to circular stacks. If the volumetric flow meters are installed on rectangular ducts or stacks, no wall-effect credit is allowed.

RMB has been asked by several utilities to pull together a group of interested utilities to fund a project to provide information to EPA on rectangular duct wall-effects. The objective will be to obtain, at a minimum, the use of the default wall-effect correction factors. If we can obtain 5-6 funding utilities the cost should be low for each individual utility.

Revisions to Stack Flow Reference Method and 40 CFR Part 75 Published in Federal Register (05/28/99)

The revisons to the EPA reference method for measuring volumetric stack flow and the changes to 40 CFR Part 75 were published in the Federal Register on May 14 and May 26, respectively. The Official Federal Register version of the revisions in PDF format (fr051499.zip and fr052699.zip) have been posted to our FTP library. Earlier versions in WordPerfect format are also still available.

EPA Releases Revisions to Stack Flow Reference Method (05/10/99)

The EPA Acid Rain Division has released long awaited new 3-D, yaw corrected and wall effects flow measurement test methods. The methods are designated 2F, 2G and 2H respectively and are very helpful in reducing the positive bias in the standard Method 2 measurement of stack flowrate. This positive bias results in reporting excessive SO2 and NOX mass emissions. All utilities and other affected sources should say "Thank You" to the Electric Power Research Institute for funding the initial studies that demonstrated the positive bias in Method 2 and the precision of the 3-D methods. We have put Methods 2F, 2G and 2H on our FTP library for your download. The file is titled "3dflow.zip" and the zip file contains seven files - a HTML fact sheet, the rule preamble in both pdf and WP6 format and the three methods in WP6 format (Method 2F is in 2 files, Part 1 and Part 2).

It is important to recognize that these test methods will be published in the Federal Register as a "Direct Final" rule which means that they will become final 60 days following promulgation UNLESS NEGATIVE COMMENTS ARE RECEIVED. We recommend that negative comments NOT BE SENT for the reasons discussed below. If negative comments are submitted, it is probable that the direct final rulemaking will be canceled and promulgation of the methods will be delayed for 6-9 months.

RMB personnel have been involved in the review of drafts of these methods and recognize that all of the methods are excruciatingly detailed and extrodinarily difficult to conduct under actual field conditions. Even though the methods are less than optimum, we recommend that they be supported because of the obvious benefit of reducing the positive bias in Method 2. We are assuming that, as the methods are used under actual field conditions, users can provide feedback to EPA and the methods will be modified to conform to reality.

EPA also published another clarification to the EDR 2.1 format and a revision to the EDR instructions. We have also put that group of files on our FTP Library as "EDR 2_1 99 05 04 version.zip" This zip file contains 3 files - the EDR version 2.1 and instructions in pdf format and the instructions in WP6 format.

Final Part 75 CEM Rule and EDR 2.1 Avaliable (04/02/99)

The final 40 CFR Part 75 CEM rule has been signed and released by EPA. Version 2.1 of the EDR format has also been released. We have put both on our FTP library for your download. Have fun -the rule is about 500 pages.

Continuous Particulate Matter Monitors Workshop (02/10/99)

On February 2 - 3, 1999, the Center for Waste Reduction Technologies (CWRT) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) sponsored a workshop designed to address the regulatory and technological developments of particulate matter (PM) continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS). The Workshop, held in Durham, North Carolina, was attended by over eighty people representing individual chemical, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, and utility companies; PM CEMS vendor companies, consulting and engineering firms; as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies. Workshop topics included:

  • PM CEMS technology overview,
  • Status of PM CEMS demonstration projects,
  • Ongoing development/revisions of performance specifications (PS 11) and EPA Reference Method (Method 5i) - both orignially proposed in the December 30, 1997 Federal Register,
  • EPA perspectives on PM CEMS, and
  • Individual PM CEMS vendor presentations.

Ralph Roberson (RMB), presented two papers during the Workshop. The first presentation addressed the electric utility industry's perspective of PM CEMS. During the second presentation, Mr. Roberson discussed the results of a recent PM CEMS demonstration project which was conducted on a coal-fired boiler. The demonstration project, developed and managed by RMB, was conducted for EPRI as a tailored collaboration (TC) project. The final report for this project is being prepared.

Because commercially available PM CEMS measure secondary properties of particulate matter as opposed to directly measuring mass emissions, a correlation (or "site-specific calibration") to mass emissions must be developed using PM reference method testing. There are two key aspects for developing a sound correlation or calibration. First, it is imperative to obtain emissions data for the complete process operating range, from zero emissions to "worst-case scenarios" resulting from process upsets, pollution control failures, and/or varying fuel feedrates. Secondly, it is equally important to ensure that the reference method data collected are accurate and representative.

Nevertheless, given the band of uncertainty surrounding these correlations/calibrations, one key issue discussed was how these monitors will be used for determining compliance with emission limits. Another major concern was the treatment of emission limit exceedances that may occur during the development of the instrument calibration correlation. Within the regulatory community, opinions on the treatment of these data differ between those drafting this regulation and those in enforcement. This matter is further complicated by the Credible Evidence Rule and the power granted to individual citizens in Section 304 of the Clean Air Act to file suit against companies for violating the Act. Muddy waters, indeed!

RMB intends to closely monitor both the regulatory and technological developments associated with PM CEMS. Periodic updates will be posted to our website. The Workshop proceedings will also be posted when they become available to RMB.

Draft Mercury Speciation Stack Test (Ontario Hydro) Method Available (01/29/99)

RMB has posted a draft of the mercury speciation stack test method (Ontario Hydro Method) to our FTP library. This is the method that must be used by utilities that are required to perform mercury stack testing pursuant to EPA's mercury information collection request (ICR).

Electric Utilities Environmental Conference Papers and EPA Overheads (01/28/99)

RMB personnel attended and presented several papers at the recent Electric Utilities Environmental Conference in Tucson. For your convenience, the papers presented by RMB personnel at the conference have been formatted for viewing and printing directly from your web browser. Included are Ralph Roberson's paper discussing EPA's Mercury Information Collection Request, and Ron Jernigan's paper about Advances in CEMS & Flow Monitoring and Russell Berry and Steve Norfleet's paper on the The Evolution of Part 75 Performance Test Procedures and Specifications.

We have also prepared two PDF files for our FTP library that contain the EPA slide presentations on the Part 75 Rule revisions and the new variants of Method 2 that will better account for swirling stack flow. The rule revision file is named p75final_rule.pdf and contains a copy of the EPA overheads. The flow methods file is named method_2fgh.pdf and it contains the overheads from three EPA presentations; all related to the new versions of Method 2.

Based on our conversations with EPA personnel, we believe that the Part 75 revisions are not likely to be promulgated before mid-March. The new flow measurement methods will be promulgated in a separate rulemaking in the April/May time frame.

As many of you may know, RMB has been funded by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) to assist in the technical review of the new flow measurement methods.

EPA Regional Offices Attempt to Circumvent Future Credible Evidence Legal Challenges (11/20/98)

In a recent conversation with a client, RMB was informed that the EPA Regional Offices were insisting that the states insert "Credible Evidence Language" in Title V permits. We did some checking and discovered that Region V was indeed requiring such language. The exact quote from a draft permit we obtained is:

"Notwithstanding the conditions of this permit specifying compliance practices for applicable requirements, any person (including the Permittee) may also use other credible evidence to establish compliance or noncompliance with applicable requirements."

Insertion of this language appears to be an attempt by EPA to eliminate future court challenges to the credible evidence rule. It seems to us that anyone who has such language in their permit could not adequately defend a suit brought by the Agency, or any other party, on the grounds of credible evidence. For sure, the argument that compliance test methods are the only basis for determining compliance is lost because the permit says otherwise. A source with credible evidence language in its permit may also be stuck with it forever - even if the Cerdible Evidence Rule is struck down by subsequent court action.

We are interested to know if similar action is being taken by the various states and other EPA Regional Offices.

Final Periodic Monitoring Guidance Released (09/28/98)

EPA has released its final periodic monitoring guidance document and RMB has posted the document, along with the related EPA fact sheet and cover memorandum, to our FTP library for your download. This guidance document is interesting in that it appears to change EPA's compliance approach for many SIP and NSPS regulations. In addition, it appears to implement the essence of the Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) rule through the periodic monitoring guidance - so much for the 5 year phase-in of the CAM rule. The guidance also implements the CAM concept of "reasonable assurance of compliance" and even expands that concept to include "continuous compliance."

Of particular interest to many industries will be the strong recommendation that CEMS and COMS be strongly considered for periodic monitoring on sources that are otherwise "grandfathered" from NSPS. EPA's assertion is the CEMS and COMS have been shown to be cost effective for the NSPS so it follows that they are cost effective for similar non-NSPS sources. We also found the enforceability section of the guidance to be interesting.

This periodic monitoring guidance document is an excellent example of EPA attempting to change and invent new regulations without having to go through the formal rulemaking process. Give us a call if you need assistance with your permitting and periodic monitoring activities.

EPA Releases Mecury Information Collection Request (09/16/98)

On September 15, 1998 EPA released several documents supporting its mercury information collection request (ICR). If approval is granted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), coal-fired power plants will be required to obtain coal samples from each coal shipment, have an ultimate analysis conducted on each sample, and have each sample analyzed for mercury and chlorine content. EPA will also randomly select 138 coal-fired utility boilers and require them to conduct, sometime during a 1-year period, simultaneous stack testing for mercury upstream and downstream of any control device. RMB has posted zipped files containing the ICR documents to our FTP library in both WordPerfect and Adobe PDF formats.

Revised Draft CAM Guidance Document Available (08/20/98)

EPA has released a revised draft of the CAM guidance document. We have made the revised draft guidance document available on our FTP Library in both Wordperfect and Adobe PDF formats. The guidance document files are large (~3 MB) and will take some time to download. For the sake of comparison, the previous version of the draft CAM guidance document is currently also available on our FTP Library but will be removed in a few weeks.

D.C. Circuit Court Hands Industry a Loss on Credible Evidence Litigation (08/17/98)

On Friday, August 14, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the issues raised by industry on the EPA Credible Evidence (CE) regulation "are unripe and cannot be decided at this time." A wide variety of industry including utilities, car manufacturers, lumber companies, steel producers, petroleum companies and mining companies had litigated for review of the CE rule citing EPA's lack of statutory authority and unlawful revision of emission standards. Quoting the court decision, "Petitioners argue that EPA promulgated the rule without statutory authority, that the revisions are unlawful because EPA failed to comply with proper rulemaking procedures, and that EPA violated the Clean Air Act by forcing states to rewrite their implementation plans. The heart of the argument is that the credible evidence rule, by altering the means for determining compliance for the new source performance standards and the hazardous air pollutant standards, increases the stringency of the underlying standards."

The essence of the CE rule states, "...various kinds of information other than reference test data, much of which is already available and utilized for other purposes, may be used to determine compliance or noncompliance with emission standards." (Using an opacity monitor rather than Method 9 for compliance determinations on a SIP source is a prime example.) In this case, industry argued that the compliance measurement method is an integral part of the emission standard because that measurement method had been used to set the standard. Industry also argued that the CE rule would convert "periodic" standards to "continuous" standards thereby increasing the stringency of the standards. (It can be shown mathematically that this is true.)

On these issues the court ruled that a purely legal decision could not be made in the abstract -- an actual CE enforcement case was needed to evaluate the specific situation. To quote the court, "As matters now stand, there are too many imponderables." Given the universe of all possible evidence that might be considered "credible," it is impossible for us to decide now what impact the rule might have. "... An enforcement action brought on the basis of credible evidence would, we believe, provide the factual development necessary to determine whether the new rule has effected whatever existing standard is involved. Until then, we have the classic institutional reason to postpone review; we need to wait for the rule to be applied to see what its effect will be."

The complete court ruling is only a few pages and makes for some interesting reading. This document is available from our FTP library in Wordperfect 5.1 format.

The bottom line is that the CE rule survives and, as a practical matter, that means utilities and other industries will have to pay strict technical attention to the contents of their periodic monitoring and compliance assurance monitoring protocols and procedures.

EPRI Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Field Evaluation Project (06/29/98)

The EPRI Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Field Evaluation Project is currently in progress. The project is designed to evaluate two distinctly different technologies for formulating a CAM plan for particulate emissions for coal-fired utility boilers. Follow this link for a description of the EPRI Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Field Evaluation Project.

New Orleans EPRI CEM Users Group Conference Papers Posted (05/31/98)

The papers presented by RMB personnel at the EPRI CEM Users Group Meeting in New Orleans have been posted. These papers have been formatted for convenient viewing and printing directly from your web browser. Included are Richard McRanie's paper on the EPRI Electrostatic Precipitator Compliance Assurance Monitoring Protocol Project , Steve Norfleet's paper discussing an Evaluation of Wall Effects on Stack Flow Velocities and Related Overestimation Bias in EPA's Stack Flow Reference Methods, Russell Berry's paper on the CEMS Analyzer Bias and Linearity Effects (CABLE) Study and Ron Jernigan's paper presenting a Compilation of Part 75 DAHS & CEM Sampling Equipment Serving the Utility Industry.

Proposed Rule Revisons Published (05/22/98)

The proposed revisions to the EPA's Acid Rain CEM Rule (Parts 72 and 75) were published in the Federal Register on May 21, 1998. The proposed rule begins on page 28031 of the May 21 issue of the Federal Register. All comments on the proposed revisions to the rule must be received by EPA on or before July 20, 1998.

EPA Draft Periodic Monitoring Guidance Released (05/21/98)

RMB has obtained a copy of EPA's Draft Periodic Monitoring Guidance Document dated May 11, 1998. Please feel free to download this document from our FTP library. For your convenience, the file is provied in both WP6.0 (.wpd) and Word 6.0 (.doc) formats. This guidance document is somewhat troubling in that it seems to go beyond the requirements of the Compliance Assurance (CAM) rule with respect to compliance determinations. For example, instead of using the CAM rule phrase "reasonable assurance of compliance," it frequently uses the phrase "to assure compliance." The guidance document confirms rumors that we have been hearing from State regulatory personnel that EPA is pushing periodic "monitoring based on CAM principles" prior to the CAM rule's effect. In other words, EPA plans to circumvent the 5-year CAM rule delay that would have impacted many sources. It is implied, but not specifically stated, that EPA will reject Title V permit applications that do not contain "appropriate" periodic monitoring (read CAM) provisions - not withstanding a completeness determination.

An interesting feature of the guidance is that it dictates that SO2 and NOX monitors used under the Acid Rain Program be specified as periodic monitoring for SIP and NSPS limits. In a couple of sentences, EPA makes a total mockery of 30 years of compliance determinations and regulatory intent. It is a lesson in how to rewrite regulations without having to put a pen to paper. We also note that the guidance requires "a correlation between the parameter(s) and compliance with the emission limit" when using parametric monitoring. What is not clear is how the word correlation is defined or just how precise EPA expects the correlation to be.

We believe all industries affected by the Title V permit program are going to have one hell of a struggle with periodic monitoring!!

New Part 75 File Avaliable (05/08/98)

We have obtained a "red line" version of the proposed revised Part 75 rule and have put it on our FTP library. This is a very useful file because it shows the rule changes using "strike out" for deleted portions and "red line" shading for new portions of the rule. It is also quite a bit smaller than the complete proposal package discussed below in the 04/27/98 posting.

Proposed Revisions to Part 75 Signed (04/27/98)

The proposed revisions to the CEM rule (Parts 72 and 75) were signed today (04/27/98) by Carol Browner. The proposed revisions are expected to be published in the Federal Register in the next few weeks. The Federal Register publication date will mark the beginning of a 45 day public comment period.

An unofficial copy of the preamble and proposed rule revisons in WordPerfect v6.0 format is available on our FTP library. (Note: it is a large file--about 700 pages). The official version will be published in the Federal Register and may contain minor differences. 

CAM Impact Discussion (04/10/98)

We have added a couple of briefs discussing the impact of compliance assurance monitoring (CAM) on industry. The first discussion was prepared by Richard McRanie and explores the use of ESP performance models and their role in CAM. Russell Berry has also prepared a CAM Rule Highlights article.

Here We Go Again -- Alleged Violations Based on CEMS Data (03/07/98)

In late February, the Sierra Club and the Grand Canyon Trust filed suit against the Mohave Generating Station and its owners for degrading air quality and reducing visibility in the Grand Canyon. The suit alleges that the plant has, for five years, violated various State Implementation Plan (SIP) limits for opacity, sulfur dioxide and particulate mass emissions. Violation of SIP excess emissions reporting requirements is also alleged. The suit claims that continuous opacity monitor and continuous emissions monitor readings, as well as other data, support the violations.

Electric Utility Report to Congress (03/05/98)

On February 25, 1998 EPA released its Electric Utility Study Report to Congress. The report is required by Sect;112(n)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act. Section 112(n)(1)(A) requires EPA to assess public health risks likely to occur as a result of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from electric utility steam generating units. The statute also directs EPA to conduct its public health assessment assuming all requirements of the Clean Air Act have been fully implemented. Based on the results of the study, EPA is directed to determine if additional regulation of electric utility steam generating units is necessary and appropriate.

EPA concludes that "mercury from coal-fired utilities is the HAP of greatest potential concern and merits additional research and monitoring." The report also states that the screening multipathway assessments for dioxins and arsenic suggest that these two HAPs are of potential concern from coal-fired plants. Nickel emission from oil-fired plants are of potential concern, but significant uncertainties exist with regard to the form of the nickel emitted and to the health effects of those various forms.

The report's Executive Summary is available at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3rc.html.

EPA has stated that a complete copy of the report will be available on or about March 9th. The formal title of the report is "Study of Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions from Electric Utility Steam Generating Units -- Final Report to Congress," February 1998 (EPA-453/R-98-004 a&b). Paper copies of the complete report should be available through the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) before the end of March 1998.

Update -- Electric Utility Study (01/22/98)

Section 112(n)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act (the Act), as amended in 1990 directs EPA to "... perform a study of the hazards to public health reasonably anticipated to occur as a result of emissions by electric utility steam generating units of ... [hazardous air pollutants] ... after imposition of the requirements of this Act." In October 1996, EPA published an Interim Electric Utility Study Report. EPA states in its interim report that the report is not final because the Agency's assessment of impacts to public health is not yet complete.

Recently, EPA signed an unopposed motion to modify its February 7, 1995 Consent Decree regarding submission of a final Electric Utility Study Report to Congress. The Consent Decree, as modified, gives EPA until February 17, 1998 to submit to Congress a final Electric Utility Study. The motion also allow EPA until April 15, 1998 to make a determination of whether additional regulation of electric utilities under ยง112 of the Act is appropriate and necessary in light of the findings of the studies completed by the Agency.

EPA Releases Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Rule Questions and Responses (01/15/98)

EPA has released a short document containing a series of initial questions and answers regarding implementation of the CAM rule. You can download the document and cover letter from our FTP Library. Since the files are fairly small, we combined both the WordPerfect and PDF files into a single zipped file.

Mercury Report to Congress (01/09/98)

As promised, EPA posted to one of its Web sites the long-awaited Mercury Study Report to Congress. It is an eight volume document and is available only in PDF file format.  The complete document is available at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3/reports. Just a word of caution, as the following table illustrates, the files are large; the volumes are voluminous.

Volume Topic and/or Subject Size-KB Pages
I Executive Summary 1,274 95
II Emissions Inventory 1,614 179
III Fate and Transport 4,362 375
IV Exposure Assessment 1,322 291
V Health Effects 1,183 348
VI Ecological Assessment 2,990 156
VII Risk Characterizations 727 156
VIII Control Technology Evaluation 826 205

Also available is a 5-page summary document titled, Mercury Study Report to Congress: White Paper, available from http://www.epa.gov/oar/merwhite.html.

NRDC Files Petition for Review of the Compliance Assurance Monitoring Rule (12/26/97)

On December 19, 1997, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a Petition For Review of the CAM rule with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. The NRDC petition was expected and is the first step in continuing litigation. It appears that NRDC is concerned that its ability to bring citizens suits for enforcement of federal environmental laws is impaired by the CAM rule. Unfortunately, the filing of the petition, and any subsequent litigation, does not affect implementation of the CAM rule while the litigation is in process. All affected industries have to continue moving forward with CAM rule implementation.

EPA Closes the Year With a Bang (12/22/97)

On Friday, December 19 the EPA released the long awaited Mercury Study Report to Congress. Ralph Roberson has prepared a short summary of the study's Executive Summary and we have added the Executive summary to our FTP Library. As expected, coal-fired utility boilers are implicated as major emitters of mercury.

Also, on Friday, December 19 the EPA Acid Rain Division sent the final draft of a new 40 CFR Part 75 continuous emissions monitoring (CEM) rulemaking package to the Office of Management and Budget. OMB has 90 days to review and comment on the rule. We should, therefore, expect a rule proposal in April or May of 1998.

Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Draft Technical Guidance Document Released (10/27/97)

EPA has released a new version of the draft CAM guidance document and we have placed it on our FTP Library for your download. The file is in Adobe PDF format, so you must have a PDF file viewer to view or print the file. The file is also very large; it's about 3 MB zipped and will take from 1 to 10 minutes to download depending on your connection speed. We took a quick look at this document and there is not much that will be applicable to major sources like electric utility steam generators; the document is very similar to the previous draft. If you want to provide comments on the draft document, they are due by December 1, 1997.

Substantial Part 60 Reference Method Changes Proposed (10/25/97)

Early last week RMB began to receive messages from utility associations, individual utilities and EPA regional personnel that the proposed revisions (08/27/97) to 40 CFR Part 60 were substantive and not reformatting as suggested in the Federal Register Notice. These revisions affect any industry that uses continuous emissions monitors or has a requirement to use any of the EPA Reference Methods or Performance Specifications. This Federal Register Notice had slipped by most industry personal (including RMB) because it implied that the changes to Part 60 and the EPA Reference Test Methods were only to reformat the methods to a consistent Agency format. The revised reference methods were not included in the notice; only information on where to obtain the revisions. The Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) asked RMB to review pertinent sections of the proposed revisions and provide technical comments (This was done and the UARG comments will be filed before the comment deadline). Upon review it was discovered that there were a number of substantive changes, many of which are unworkable. Comments on the proposed rule are due on Monday, 10/27/97; however, we have been assured that late comments of a technical nature will be considered by EPA. We have bundled several pertinent files into a fairly large zip file and put it on our FTP Library. The file name is prorul60.zip and it includes the Federal Register Notice, revised EPA Reference Methods 3A, 6C, 7E and revised Performance Specification 2 in Adobe PDF format.

CAM Rule in Federal Register (10/22/97)

The CAM rule was published in the Federal Register today and has an effective date of November 21, 1997. We have added the Federal Register Notice PDF file to our FTP Library. This file will print an exact duplicate of the Federal Register when printed from an Adobe PDF reader.

Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Rule Package Released (10/08/97)

Late Wednesday (10/08/97) afternoon, EPA released the CAM rule package. We have put four related files on our FTP Library for your download. The files are:

WP6.0 format - camrulwp.zip which contains the CAM rule, rule preamble and Fact Sheet and campkgwp.zip which contains all of the previous plus the response to comments and regulatory impact analysis.

PDF format - camrulpd.zip and campkgpd.zip. These files contain the same information as the WP6.0 files above except in PDF format.

In the past, we have not posted the PDF version of EPA files because of their inflated size and incompatability with some printers. Unfortunately, EPA seems to be moving away from the old WP5.1 format to WP6.0 and PDF formats.

Contrary to our normal practice, and in the interest of time, we have not checked these new FTP files carefully for errors or correct printing. Please send us E-mail if you find any problems.

CAM Fact Sheet (09/29/97)

EPA has published a CAM Fact Sheet and we have have put it on this site. The anticipated signing date for the final CAM rule is still October 4 and it will be put on our FTP Library as soon as we can get it.

CAM Speech Overheads Available (09/09/97)

Richard McRanie made the keynote address at the ESP/FF Round Table Forum on August 11, 1997 in Tempe, Arizona. His subject was the Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) and Credible Evidence (CE) rules and their probable impact on the electric utility industry. We have received numerous requests for copies of the overheads and are providing them in three different formats. For those that do not have PowerPoint or just want to review the overheads, we have uploaded an on-line slide presentation that can be directly viewed in your browser. (The graphics are high resolution JPG images and will, depending on your connection speed, take a few moments to load.) Use the forward and back arrows above each slide to navigate. For those that have access to PowerPoint, we have also put a zipped file in our FTP Library. The file espkeynt.zip contains both Version 6 and 7 PowerPoint .PPT files.

Performance Specification I for Opacity Monitors Released (08/08/97)


EPA has released an advanced copy of revised Performance Specification 1 for opacity monitors. We have converted it to WordPerfect 5.1 format and put it on our FTP Library

EPA CEMS Workgroup Conference Call Minutes (07/27/97)

We ran into an EPA document that may be of interest to our visitors. The minutes of this conference call provide some insight into the thinking of EPA and a large group of State personnel with respect to "CEMS Promotion." We found it to be interesting reading. The document is EPA's; we only converted it to HTML and it is available here.

EPA Promulgates New Ambient Air Quality Standards (07/27/97)

On July 18, 1997, EPA promulgated possibly the most controversial rule ever - the revision to the ambient ozone and particulate standards. More information.

 

EPA Proposes Significantly Lower NOx Standard For New Utility Boilers (07/14/97)

On July 9, EPA published a proposal to revise the Subpart Da NOx limit to 1.35 lb/megawatt-hour net energy generation (approximately 0.15 lb/106 Btu). Comments on the proposal are due by September 8, 1997. More information.

Summary Evaluation of EPA's Cam Cost Impact Analysis (06/13/97)

On behalf of a client representing a group of industrial sources, RMB prepared a detailed evaluation of EPA's cost impact analysis for the pending CAM rule. RMB believes that EPA has significantly underestimated the cost of implementing the CAM rule. A short summary of the full RMB report is available.

Denver EPRI CEM Users Group Conference Papers Posted (05/29/97)

The papers presented by RMB personnel at the EPRI CEM Users Group Meeting in Denver have been posted. These papers have been formatted for convenient printing on a HP 4 or 5 laser printer directly from your browser. Included are Richard McRanie's paper on the EPRI Heat Rate Project, Ralph Roberson's paper on EPA's Particulate Monitor Evaluation Program and Russell Berry's paper on Enhanced QA/QC for CEMS.

Utilities Now Subject To Emergency Planning and Community
Right-to-Know Act (05/07/97)

On April 22, 1997, the EPA Administrator signed a new rule that subjects utilities to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) beginning in calendar year 1998. EPA's estimate of the cost impact on utilities is $44.9 million in the first year and $29.4 million in each subsequent year. (Our experience is that EPA's cost estimates are always low.) More EPCRA information.

CAM Regulatory Impact Analysis Released (04/12/97)

EPA has released the CAM rulemaking regulatory impact analysis (RIA) for review and comment. This release was made even though EPA had previously stated (61 FR 46418, September 3, 1996) that the analysis would not be released until the final CAM rule was promulgated. EPA is inviting comment on the impact analysis as well as the "relationship between the final credible evidence rule (February 24, 1997) and the draft CAM rule (August 2, 1996)." The comment period will be open for 30 days following publication of the Notice of Document Availability in the Federal Register. We have place three CAM RIA documents on our FTP Library for download. The documents are fr-rfa97.zip (Federal Register notice), seciv.zip (cost section of RIA) and secv.zip (regulatory flexibility section of RIA). Please note: All of these files are zipped WordPerfect 6.0 files as received from EPA. Some of you may not be able to handle Version 6.0 files so we have also put WordPerfect version 5.1 files on the FTP Library. It is likely that the graphics in the 5.1 files did not convert properly, therefore, we recommend the Version 6.0 files. The WP 5.1 file names are, respectively, frrfa975.zip, seciv5.zip and secv5.zip.

Continuous PM And Hg CEM Reports Available (03/27/97)

On March 21, 1997, EPA published a notice of data availability in the Federal Register. The announcement is a notice of availability and request for public comment on four reports pertaining to EPA's proposed requirement to install and operate continuous particulate matter (PM) and continuous mercury (Hg) monitors on hazardous waste combustors. Written comments on the documents must be submitted to the Agency by April 21, 1997. The titles of the four reports are:

---Site-specific Quality Assurance Test Plan: Method 301 Validation of a Proposed Method 101B for Mercury Speciation, dated September 27, 1996.
---Site-specific Quality Assurance Test Plan: Total Mercury CEMS Demonstration, Volumes 1 and 2, dated October 11, 1996.
---Site-specific Quality Assurance Test Plan: Particulate Matter CEMS Demonstration, Volume 1, dated August 7, 1996.
---Status Report IV: Particulate Matter CEMS Demonstration, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, dated February 12, 1997.

According to the Federal Register notice, these reports are available from two EPA electronic sources: the CLU-IN and EMTIC bulletin boards. We have obtained and placed zipped files containing the four documents in our FTP Library. (Notice: These are very large files, ~1.3 meg each.) Lastly, RMB will be presenting a paper on May 15th at the EPRI CEM Users Group Meeting in Denver that will provide an up to date status report on EPA's continuous PM demonstration project. For more information on why RMB believes these CEM field demonstrations are important, click here.

EPA Releases Credible Evidence Rule (02/14/97)

The text of the Credible Evidence (CE) rule with preamble and the response to comments have been posted by EPA. Our very quick read indicates that industry lost almost all arguments (as expected). This rule has a serious impact on the enforcement of opacity limits and the implementation of the forthcoming CAM rule. We have put both documents in our FTP Library for download by anyone who is interested.

Both EPRI CEMS Heat Input/Heat Rate Project Updates Now Available (01/29/97)

The field test and swirl tunnel update reports on the EPRI CEMS Heat Input/Heat Rate Discrepancy project are now available. These reports show conclusively that the primary cause of high heat input measurements by Part 75 CEMS is that EPA Reference Method 2 measures high in the presence of "swirling" stack flow. Other small causes for the high bias are also identified and quantified. Under carefully controlled conditions, heat rate closure between stack and conventional input/output measurements was achieved within 1.6% and 3.4% at the two sites. These reports are in HTML format and can be printed in B&W and color directly from your browser.

"Swirl Tunnel" Report

Field Test Report

Interesting Method 201/202 Alert From EPA (01/08/97)

The following message was posted to EPA's EMTIC Alert. It indicates that EPA is, after about 3 years, again looking at these fine particle and condensable stack sampling methods. RMB was active in debating the methods when they were originally proposed and promulgated by EPA because all of the methods have serious problems. If you have experience with these methods, we would appreciate you contact us via email and share your experience/data. These methods may become critical to utilities under the proposed ambient PM 2.5 and short-term SO2 regulations.

EMTIC Alert

Fine particulate matter stack test methods -- The Emission Measurement Center is interested in any information about field applications of Methods 201, 201A, or 202 (for measuring PM10 and condensable particulate matter) or for similar methods. The most useful information would be about field experiences including the types of sources tested, comparisons with other data, and technical difficulties in either collecting representative samples or the analysis. Please contact Tom Logan at (919) 541-2580 or via email.

New EPA Proposal on Short-Term Ambient SO2

On December 20, 1996, EPA proposed a State-administered "Intervention Level" Program under authority of the Clean Air Act to address short-term (5-minute) peak concentrations of SO2 in the ambient air. According to EPA, the program is designed to provide public health protection for asthmatics who may be exposed to elevated short-term concentrations of SO2 in very localized situations.

In May 1996, EPA announced its decision not to revise the existing health-based or primary national ambient air quality standards for SO2. EPA concluded that the current standards provide adequate nationwide protection from adverse health effects associated with sustained, low-level exposure to SO2. However, EPA remains concerned that some asthmatics in very localized situations may be repeatedly exposed to short-term peak SO2 levels of concern while engaged in mild physical activity.

According to the proposal, the Intervention Level Program would be managed by the States. Under the program, States, working in partnership with industrial sources and local communities, would tailor control programs, where necessary, to address any short-term peaks of SO2 in the most flexible and cost-effective manner possible.

Under the authority of section 303 of the Clean Air Act, EPA's proposed Intervention Level Program would establish two 5-minute ambient concentration levels: a concern level of 0.6 parts per million (ppm), and an endangerment level of 2.0 ppm. At or above the concern level, States would be encouraged to investigate the frequency, magnitude, and the sources of 5-minute peak concentrations; consider the risk to nearby populations; determine if corrective action is necessary; and implement the needed corrective action. If the endangerment level is exceeded, the affected State would be expected to take remedial action to prevent imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and welfare caused by high 5-minute ambient concentrations of SO2.

Under the proposed Intervention Level Program, States would be given the flexibility to relocate existing air pollution monitors to areas that may have high 5-minute ambient concentrations of SO2. If needed, States would work with industrial facilities and affected communities to decide upon the best course of corrective action, based on local circumstances, to provide public health protection for asthmatics.

EPA's proposed Intervention Level Program

Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) for EPA's proposed program

Preliminary Field Test Results from the EPRI CEMS Heat Rate Discrepancy Project

For more information, please take a look at:

Field Test Update Report

Preliminary Field Test Results

EPA Publishes Revised AP-42

EPA recently issued revisions to Chapter 1 of AP-42. Of course, AP-42 is EPA's long-standing compilation of emission factors for stationary sources. Chapter 1 deals exclusively with external combustion sources. Chapter 1 is composed of 11 sections; most of the sections pertain to estimating emissions for burning a specific type of fuel in a boiler. For example, Section 1 includes bituminous and subbituminous coal. Section 3 addresses fuel oil, Section 4 natural gas, and Section 7 deals with combustion of lignite.

Since most electric utility boilers are equipped with SO2 and NOx continuous emission monitors, AP-42 emission factors for criteria pollutants may not be used as often as they once were. However, most environmental professionals want to have the most recent version of AP-42 in their libraries. Moreover, this version of Chapter 1 includes a considerable amount of new emission data and emission factors for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

The revisions to Chapter 1 of AP-42 can be downloaded from EPA's Technology Transfer Network (TTN). On this EPA page, AP-42 chapters (1 through 14) are available in both WordPerfectฎ 5.1 and Adobe Acrobatฎ formats.

EPA Releases Interim Electric Utility Report on Hazardous Air Pollutants


This
Interim Electric Utility Report is available.

EPA Hg and Particulate CEM Demo Program

EPA has proposed a new rule requiring continuous emissions monitors (CEM) for mercury (Hg) and particulate emissions from hazardous waste incinerators. Given the potential future impact on the electric utility, particularly from the particulate CEM, RMB has been asked to follow EPA's Hg and particulate CEM demonstration program. More information.


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Agora Environmental Consulting
Last Revised: February 25, 2008