EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA, Transitions to Federally Approved Clean Air Act Permits
Transition Will Affect Harris and Brazoria Counties
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA (INEOS) to transition three of the company's Subchapter G flexible permits to SIP-approved permits consistent with the Clean Air Act.
“For many months, we have taken extraordinary steps in working with companies one-on-one to ensure they are meeting requirements of the Clean Air Act,” stated Al Armendariz, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 6. “We are very pleased with the progress to reform the air permitting program in Texas.”
EPA has agreed to work with the company throughout the process and closely review the permit applications to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act. The company has agreed to provide supporting documentation for new unit-specific emission limits and caps, monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting requirements, a historical permit analysis and a permit amendment over the next 12-month period.
“INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA has reached agreement with the EPA to transition its Texas-based manufacturing sites from flexible permits to Subchapter B permits,” said Charles Saunders, INEOS. “INEOS's diligent and disciplined approach to its operations allowed for a cooperative, transparent, and expeditious agreement with the EPA and will allow for a prompt and smooth transition to the new permitting framework with the TCEQ.”
As part of today's agreement, INEOS will file their first Title V permit minor revision application with the state on or before Jan. 31, 2011, and submit similar applications for the remaining two permits before March 15, 2011. The applications for SIP-approved permits will be acted on by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which remains the primary air permitting authority in the state. They will then be reviewed by EPA and available to the public for review and comment.
EPA is committed to addressing flexible permits issues and working with TCEQ and INEOS to complete the steps outlined in the Dec. 21, 2010, letter. EPA continues to work with TCEQ, industry, communities and environmental organizations to address changes to Texas’ air program.
Although the vast majority of major facilities in Texas have SIP-approved permits, some chose to get flexible permits through a program that was never federally compliant. In addition, EPA determined that the program allowed companies to avoid certain federal clean air requirements, and grouped emission limits from multiple units together rather than setting specific emission limits for individual pollution sources at their plants.
EPA sent flexible permit holders an opportunity-to-confer letter requiring companies to explain how they intend to transition from the Subchapter G flexible permits to SIP-approved permits over the next 12-months. Companies were required to respond to EPA's letter by Dec. 22, 2010.