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FACT SHEET

AMENDMENTS TO THE GENERAL PROVISIONS FOR AIR TOXICS STANDARDS

FACT SHEET

ACTION
BACKGROUND
MORE INFORMATION
and HOW TO COMMENT

ACTION

  • On June 30, 2005 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the General Provisions to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) and other specific National Emissions Standards. The June 30, 2005 proposed amendments are posted at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3pfpr.html.

  • The General Provisions establish a common set of requirements for developing rules or standards to regulate emissions of toxic air pollution.

  • Among other things, the General Provisions require an affected facility to develop a startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) plan. An SSM plan describes how a source will operate to minimize emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction.

  • The General Provisions require a facility owner or operator to develop a SSM plan and report to the state or local permitting authority whether or not it was followed. The public has unrestricted access to the plans that are on file at EPA or at a state or local permitting authority.

  • These amendments propose that a facility may deviate from the SSM plan, but as required by the General Provisions it is required to minimize emissions at all times during SSM periods.

  • EPA is proposing these amendments in response to a July 29, 2003, petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to reconsider certain aspects of the May 30, 2003 amendments to the General Provisions.

  • EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Agency will hold a public hearing if requested to do so. How to comment.

 

BACKGROUND

  • Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to regulate sources of 188 listed toxic air pollutants. On July 16, 1992, EPA published a list of industrial source categories that emit one or more of these air toxics. For the listed categories of sources, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to develop emission standards for air toxics. Most of these standards require the source to develop and implement SSM plans that describe how a source will minimize emissions during periods of SSM.

  • Air toxics, also called hazardous air pollutants, are those pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems in humans.

  • Industrial facilities subject to EPA=s technology based air toxics standards have a duty to minimize emissions at all times.

  • Because control and process equipment can fail during operation and because operating conditions vary during startup and shutdown of a unit, exceedances of an emission standard may, in some situations, be unavoidable.

  • In planning for such occurrences, a facility is required to establish specific procedures to minimize emissions during these events.

  • On May 30, 2003, EPA amended the General Provisions for air toxics standards to clarify that a member of the public may request a copy of a source=s SSM plan as long as the request was specific and reasonable.

  • The NRDC objected to the specific and reasonable criteria and maintained that the public had the right to unrestricted access to SSM plans because during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction the procedures in the plans were required in place of the emissions standard. On July 29, 2003, NRDC petitioned EPA to reconsider the May 30, 2003, amendment with respect to the publics ability to access SSM plans.

  • This amendment emphasizes that the public has access to the plans already available to EPA and that the General Provisions’ requirement to minimize emissions during SSM must be followed in place of the emissions standard during these times.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

  • To download a copy of the proposed amendments, go to ARecent Actions@ at the following address: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t3pfpr.html.

  • Today=s proposed amendments and other background information are also available either electronically in EDOCKET, EPA=s electronic public docket and comment system, or in hard copy at EPA=s Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (Docket ID No. OAR-2004-0094). The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center is (202) 566-1742.

  • HOW TO COMMENT. Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. OAR-2004-0094 and submitted by one of the following methods:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov),

    • EDOCKET (http://www.epa.gov/edocket),

    • e-mail (a-and-r-docket@epa.gov), and colyer.rick@epa.gov

    • facsimile ((202) 566-1741 and (919) 541-5600

    • facsimile ((202) 566-1741),

    • mail (Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460), or hand delivery (Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).

  • We request that a separate copy of each comment also be sent to the contact person listed below.

  • For further information about the proposed amendments, contact Mr. Rick Colyer of EPA's Office of Air Quality, Planning, and Standards, Emission Standards Division, Minerals and Inorganic Chemicals Group at (919) 541-5262 or by e-mail at colyer.rick@epa.gov.


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