Region 4 PSD Permitting Process in Florida
EPA Region 4 is the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) sources in the State of Florida. In some cases, EPA will be issuing a PSD permit for just GHG emissions while Florida issues a permit for non-GHG emissions and in others cases, EPA will issue a PSD permit for the entire source (all triggered regulated NSR pollutants, including GHGs). The PSD permitting process at EPA Region 4 can best be grouped into 5 phases, which are: (1) pre-application, (2) application, (3) draft permit preparation, (4) public participation, and (5) final decision to issue or deny a PSD permit. These phases are described below and additional information can be found in the recently issued EPA Permit Processing Guidance document dated October 15, 2012.
During this phase, the applicant reviews the applicable requirements in light of the activities being considered at a new or modified source. Applicants should review EPA’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Program (see 40 CFR 52.21).
EPA strongly recommends that potential applicants contact or meet with EPA to determine what requirements apply and to discuss what should be included in a PSD permit application. EPA Region 4 GHG contacts are listed on our main GHG website.
Preconstruction Monitoring and Modeling Protocol: Because the PSD program generally requires applicants to perform an air quality impact analysis, EPA recommends applicants consult with EPA to determine the need (if any) for ambient air quality monitoring (i.e., pre-construction or post-construction monitoring) and to determine the amount of on-site meterological data that will be needed or to determine if there are alternatives, such as nearby representative data. If an air quality impact analysis is required, EPA recommends that the applicant prepare a modelling protocol for EPA review prior to commencing air quality modelling.
Endangered Species Act (ESA): Among other federal requirements, an applicant may need to perform an Endangered Species analysis if one was not recently performed for the project as part of another federal action, such as a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) analysis. EPA encourages applicants to start consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service, as applicable, pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA, prior to submission of an application to EPA. While the ESA process can take place apart from the air permitting process, the ESA process must be completed prior to the EPA's final issuance of the PSD permit.
Again, the applicant is strongly encouraged to request a pre-application meeting with EPA permitting staff to review permit needs, discuss any pre-application requirements, and to discuss the contents and format of a complete permit application.
After determining its pre-application needs, if the applicant submits a PSD permit application, EPA requests that the applicant provide at least 2 double-sided hard copies (page numbered) of the permit application(s) to EPA and 2 copies on CD. The applicant should also send an electronic copy to the appropriate Federal Land Managers (FLM) if the project may impact a federal Class I area. Contact information for these agencies is available on the EPA Region 4 GHG contacts website.
Permit applications are often lengthy. They must include a description of the facility and how the facility will be constructed or modified and operated to be protective of public health and the environment.
Applicants seeking a federal PSD permit should use the Florida Deparment of Environmental Protections' Application for Air Permit forms. Additionally, applicants are referred to EPA's NSR Policy and Guidance website as well as EPA's GHG Permitting Tools website for information on federal PSD permitting.
Upon receipt, Region 4 reviews the PSD application for administrative completeness. EPA determines whether the application is complete within 30 of receiving the PSD application. If the application is incomplete, EPA will request, in writing, the necessary information in order to make it complete.
EPA notifies the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service and/or National Marine Fisheries Service, as applicable, that permit development is in progress to determine if an ESA consultation will be necessary. If the project could have impacts on any Class I areas (such as national parks, national wilderness areas or marine sanctuaries), EPA will also notify the appropriate FLM.
Applicants in Florida (outside of Indian country) that are subject to title V of the Clean Air Act solely because they emit or have the potential to emit greenhouse gases in excess of the thresholds set forth in the Tailoring Rule (100 tpy and 100,000 tpy CO2e) should NOT submit a title V permit application to EPA Region 4 at this time.
EPA has not established a federal part 71 program for issuance of title V permits to sources of GHG emissions in Florida (outside of Indian country).
Further, as EPA noted in the preamble to the Federal Register notice titled “Action To Ensure Authority To Implement Title V Permitting Programs Under the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule” (75 FR 82254, December 10, 2010),"if a State with an approved title V program lacks any authority to permit sources that are major sources subject to title V as a result of their GHG emissions, then there is no title V permit program ‘applicable to the source’ and those sources in that State have no obligation to apply for a title V permit until after such time as a permit program becomes applicable to them. See CAA section 503(a).” Id. at 82259, note 8.
If you have questions about requirements of part 71, please contact EPA Region 4. For questions about Florida's title V program, please contact FDEP.
3. Draft Permit Preparation
After the application is deemed complete, EPA prepares a draft permit, preliminary determination, an Ambient Air Quality Impact Report (AAQIR), if necessary, and/or Statement of Basis. The draft permit contains conditions for controlling air pollution. The AAQIR includes any required air quality impact analysis, as appropriate. The preliminary determination generally includes any required analysis for installation of the best available control technology (BACT) and basis for other draft PSD permit conditions. EPA has one year from the date of a complete application to issue a PSD permit. However, we strive to issue the permits as expeditiously as we can given available resources.
4. Public Participation
Once EPA makes a preliminary determination, EPA will make the proposed decision available to the public via our website. If EPA plans to issue a permit, then EPA will propose the draft permit, AAQIR, Statement of Basis and/or preliminary determination and start the public comment period. The public comment period is usually 30 days for PSD permits. However, this could be extended if EPA finds that there is significant public interest. The public is usually notified of the draft permit through a printed legal notice in a newspaper of general circulation in an area where the source will be located. The public may also be notified of the draft permit through EPA’s website. EPA will directly notify any citizen who requests to be on the mailing list for the permit. If you would like to receive an email regarding the public notice of a specific project, sign up here.
Anyone may submit comments on the draft permit to EPA during the public comment period and may also request a public hearing. EPA may hold a public hearing if it finds that there is significant public interest. The public hearing may be held during the public comment period. All permit documents and comments received from the public, other government agencies, and the applicant during the public comment period become part of the administrative record for the permit. The administrative record is available to the public.
5. Permit Issuance
After the public comment period has ended, EPA carefully considers all comments. EPA then issues a decision on the final PSD permit and a response to all significant comments. The final permit usually becomes effective 30 days after EPA issues a decision, unless a different effective date is given or if the final permit is appealed to the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). Final PSD permits issued by EPA Region can be found on our website.
Any person who filed comments on the draft PSD permit or participated in the public hearing may petition the EAB to review the final PSD permit decision. The regulations governing the appeal process are at 40 CFR 124.19 (PSD).