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Texas Air Permitting



EPA determined that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) program that grants flexible permits to facilities that emit air pollutants did not meet several national requirements for protection of health and the environment. In June 2010, EPA disapproved this program from being part of TCEQ’s clean-air implementation plan. Notably, it allows companies to avoid certain federal clean air requirements by lumping emissions from multiple units under a single “cap” rather than setting specific emission limits for individual pollution sources at their plants. EPA has also determined the TCEQ’s Qualified Facilities and New Source Review programs do not meet federal requirements.


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EPA Proposes Approval of Texas Greenhouse Gas Clean Air Plan

EPA is proposing approval of portions of two State clean-air plan revisions to provide for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in Texas. Upon final approval, EPA will rescind the Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) that is currently in place, and the State will take over as the greenhouse gas permitting authority for Texas. EPA worked with Texas as they developed, submitted, and obtain approval of the necessary revisions to enable them to issue air permits to greenhouse gas-emitting sources.

As we propose this current rule, EPA and Texas are working together within the permitting process to ensure Texas businesses have access to permits they need to meet greenhouse gas requirements and continue to grow. Our proposed action will be open to public comment for 30 days.

Prepublication Federal Register Notice for Texas Green House Gas Clean Air Plan Proposal

EPA Finalizes Approval of Public Participation Rules in Texas’ Clean-Air Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved Texas’ clean-air plan that covers public notification requirements for facilities applying for air permits. The revised plan gives citizens additional opportunities to comment on applications for air permits for new facilities and modifications to existing facilities.

In seven to ten days, this action will be published in the Federal Register. The rule will become effective 30 days following that publication date. A PDF of the signed notice is available below.

Federal Register Notice

EPA's Letter to Texas Agriculture Commissioner to dispel myths regarding EPA's work and its impact on agriculture

Copy of EPA letter regarding GHG regulations and agriculture (2 pp, 64 KB, About PDF)

EPA ensures Texas industries can obtain GHG permits

The EPA is issuing a final rule that ensures that industries in Texas can continue to seek and obtain the valid greenhouse gas (GHG) permits they need to build new facilities or expand existing ones.

In December 2010, EPA issued an interim final rule and a parallel proposal for public comment on the disapproval of part of Texas' Clean Air Act permitting program for GHGs. This final rule responds to the comments the agency received. The interim final rule has been in effect since the end of last year and will be replaced by this action when it is published in the Federal Register.

Texas will continue to issue permits to facilities for other Clean Air Act pollutants. States are best suited to issue permits to sources of GHG emissions and have experience working with their industrial facilities. EPA is working with a number of states as they develop, submit, and obtain approval of the necessary revisions to enable them to issue air permits to GHG-emitting sources and is ready to do the same for the state of Texas.

Beginning on January 2, 2011, the Clean Air Act required large plants and factories planning to make, expand or build new facilities to obtain permits addressing their GHG emissions. Emissions from small sources, such as farms and restaurants, are not covered by these permitting requirements.

New Source Review (NSR) Regulations and Standards
Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Greenhouse Gas Permitting Process
Federal Register Notice
Submit a formal comment
Texas GHG Final Rule Fact Sheet (4 pp, 30 KB, About PDF)
PSD Greenhouse Gas Permitting Process for facilities located in Texas

Congressional hearing on EPA's greenhouse gas and Clean Air Act regulations held in Houston

On March 24, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing in Houston on EPA's greenhouse gas and Clean Air Act regulations. Gina McCarthy, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation represented the agency at the hearing.

Testimony by Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation (5 pp, 75 KB, About PDF)
Letter from EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz to Congressional Committee (1 p, 47 KB, About PDF)
Partial list of Regional Administrator Armendariz outreach to state and local government and industry. (6 pp, 98 K, About PDF)

EPA letter to TCEQ on possible solutions for addressing the Title V Objections

EPA Letter to TCEQ (8 pp, 2.14 MB, About PDF)

EPA provides state agencies with greenhouse gas permit training

On December 8-9, 2010, EPA provided training on the implementation of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory initiatives to representatives from the area.

The training sessions focused on prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) applicability and best available control technology (BACT) determinations for greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases permitting guidance (97 pp, 464 KB, About PDF)
EPA’s Clean Air Act Permitting for Greenhouse Gases website

EPA is issuing Clean Air Act permits for greenhouse gas emissions in Texas

Companies who have a PSD permit pending now at the TCEQ or expect to be filing one in the near future should contact EPA to discuss their potential obligation to obtain a PSD permit for GHG emissions. As an interim step, GHG permitting in Texas has been handled directly by EPA since January 2, 2011. More

Open Letter to Texas Industry (2 pp, 29 KB, About PDF)
GHG Federal Register Notices

INEOS Transitions to Federally Approved Clean Air Act Permits

EPA 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. More

INEOS Committment Letter (20 pp, 82 KB, About PDF)
EPA Response Letter (22 pp, 840 KB, About PDF)

Opportunity to confer follow up letter sent to flexible permit holders

EPA sent an opportunity to confer follow up letter to 74 flexible permit holders. The letter also contains further information on the various options to transition TCEQ flexible permits to SIP-compliant permits.

Example of EPA letter to flexible permit holder (PDF) (4 pp, 1.66 MB, About PDF)
Opportunity to confer clarification letter (PDF) (1 p, 192 KB, About PDF)

EPA seeks information from Valero

Valero is proposing to replace their subchapter G flexible permit using the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) alteration process. EPA is seeking additional information to evaluate the specific proposed use of the alteration process to obtain a subchapter B SIP approved permit for the Valero refinery.

Information request letter (PDF) (13 pp, 482 KB, About PDF)

EPA responds to TCEQ regarding the use of alteration process

On November 1, 2010 EPA wrote to the TCEQ stating the EPA does not believe the alteration process is an appropriate tool to create SIP approved permits from non SIP approved subchapter G flexible permits.

Response letter to TCEQ (PDF) (3 pp, 124 KB, About PDF)

Flint Hills Resources, LP Agrees to Transition Its Texas Flexible Permits to Federally Approved Clean Air Act Permits

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a process has been developed, through work with Flint Hills Resources (FHR) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), to transition FHR’s four air pollution permits that contain Texas Subchapter G flexible air permits to State Implementation Plan-approved (SIP-approved) permits consistent with the Clean Air Act.

EPA has been working with TCEQ, industry, community and environmental organizations to address changes to the air permitting program. In September 2010, EPA and TCEQ released a draft four-step transition process at a meeting in Austin. While those discussions are continuing, FHR proceeded to tailor the draft transition process to its facilities with flexible permits.

Flint Hills Resources Letter to EPA (28 pages, PDF, 6.7 MB)
EPA Letter to Flint Hills Resources (30 pages, PDF, 7.2 MB)

Flint Hills - East permit revision request (1 page, PDF, 57 KB)
Attachment A - Terms and Conditions10 pages, PDF, 425 KB)

Flint Hills - West permit revision request (1 page, PDF, 58 KB)
Attachment A - Terms and Conditions (12 pages, PDF, 561 KB)

News Release

EPA Announces Voluntary Audit Program for Flexible Permit Holders

EPA has announced its voluntary Audit Program to help companies with Flexible Permits obtain air quality permits that meet state and federal requirements and the protections of the Clean Air Act. "Our main objective is to get each and every permit holder a federally approved permit issued by the TCEQ," said Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. "The program benefits companies by providing liability protection, and benefits communities by identifying clear enforceable pollution limits and developing projects to mitigate past environmental impacts. It's a real win-win."

Federal Register Notice | News Release

Public Participation Revisions Withdrawn

In response to our proposed limited approval and limited disapproval, the TCEQ adopted new regulations governing public participation for air permits and submitted these regulations to EPA as revisions to the SIP in a letter dated July 2, 2010. TCEQ withdrew from consideration the previously submitted revisions to the Texas SIP concerning public participation for air permits

Federal Register Notice

EPA partially approves revisions to TCEQ's program to address excess emissions during planned maintenance, startup and shutdown activities

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a proposal to partially approve and partially disapprove revisions to the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) concerned with excess emissions during planned maintenance, startup or shutdown (MSS) activities. This action finalizes EPA's May 13, 2010 proposal that approved the parts of the rule that are consistent with the federal Clean Air Act and disapproved of those portions of the rule that are inconsistent with the Act.

Federal Register Notice

Flexible Permit Transitioning Proposed Process

TCEQ and EPA continue to make progress to provide companies with a process for transitioning Flexible Permits to SIP-Approved Permits. On September 16, TCEQ and EPA hosted a meeting with representatives from industry, environmental organizations and communities to review a proposed process.

A copy of the proposal is available | Comments

EPA Disapproves Components of TCEQ’s NSR Permitting Program

EPA disapproved aspects of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) clean-air permitting program that do not meet federal Clean Air Act requirements. EPA has been working with the state and interested parties to better align the TCEQ air permitting program with federal requirements and existing state programs, so that air permitting in the state will better protect air quality for all Texans. TCEQ continues to have the authority to issue permits under prior EPA approval of its 1992 NSR program.

Federal Register Notice | News Release

EPA Disapproves Texas Flexible Air Permit Program

The Environmental Protection Agency disapproved the Texas Flexible Permit Program that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had submitted for inclusion in its federally approved State Implementation Plan.

Federal Register on Texas Air Permit, Revision to the New Source Review (25 pages, PDF, 3.05 MB)
News Release

Texas Qualified Facilities SIP Final Disapproval

On March 31, 2010, EPA disapproved the Qualified Facilities exemption rule that TCEQ had submitted for inclusion in its federally approved State Implementation Plan. The rule allows companies that have Texas issued air permits to avoid certain federal clean-air requirements including public review when they modify their plants. EPA has determined that this regulation does not meet several federal Clean Air Act requirements.
EPA’s action has been published in the Federal Register.

New Release -- Summary (23 pages, PDF, 625KB) | Federal Register Notice

EPA Objection to Texas Permits

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review permits proposed by the state and raise any objections within 45 days. The EPA regional office in Dallas is fulfilling its statutory requirement as one measure to ensure the state's program complies with national law. EPA has raised objections on permits proposed by the state. A complete listing is available (scroll down to "EPA Objection Letters). The state has 90 days to satisfy the objections by revising and resubmitting proposed permits or the permits default to EPA.

EPA Proposes to Disapprove Texas Changes to Air Permitting Program

googlemapEPA proposes to disapprove key aspects of the Texas clean-air permitting program in order to make those provisions more protective of air quality as required by the Clean Air Act. Final decisions about changing the program will be made under expedited schedule. Comment period closed on November 23, 2009. More

BCCA Settlement

EPA and business group reached an agreement regarding the timing of federal review of the Texas’ air permitting program. Comment period closed on August 31, 2009.

Federal Register Notice | News Release

State Resources

Status of Texas air permits
Don't know the Texas permit number? Not sure if an application is open for comment?
Comment online on pending Texas permit
Texas public assistance on permitting issues - Telephone number: (800) 687-4040

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