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Air Permitting for Deepwater Port Act Projects in the South Central Region

Projects with air emission sources located offshore the state seaward boundaries of Louisiana and Texas are potentially subject to federal air quality requirements under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OSCLA) or the Deepwater Port Act of 1974.

The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Air Regulations, found at 40 CFR part 55, establishes the applicable air pollution control requirements, including provisions related to permitting, monitoring, reporting, fees, compliance, and enforcement, for facilities subject to the Clean Air Act (CAA) section 328. These regulations apply to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sources located in the Gulf of Mexico. For OCS sources west of 87.5° longitude (i.e., offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama) and locating beyond the state seaward boundary in the Gulf of Mexico, the OCS source is subject to Federal air quality requirements and will likely need an OCS permit issued by Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (DOI-BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (DOI-BSEE).

The Deepwater Port Act of 1974 establishes a license process that is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and delegated to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), which issues the actual deepwater port license. EPA Region 6 is involved in the licensing and environmental review process for Deepwater Port projects located in the Federal waters offshore Texas and Louisiana. EPA Region 6 is also responsible for the issuance of air permits for projects offshore in Federal waters based on the CAA and the air regulations that would otherwise be applicable to the nearest adjacent coastal state, as long as the state or local requirements are applicable and not inconsistent with federal law and the Deepwater Port Act. Under the Deepwater Port Act, Deepwater Port projects locating beyond 10 nautical miles from the Texas shoreline or 10 marine leagues from the Louisiana shoreline will likely need an EPA Region 6 issued preconstruction and operating permit.

Permitting requirements vary on a project-by-project basis. For this reason, not all projects apply for the same permits or are subject to the same requirements. EPA strongly recommends that potential applicants contact or meet with EPA to determine what requirements apply and to discuss what should be included in an EPA permit application. Please contact the EPA Region 6 Deepwater Port Air Permitting Contact, Melanie Magee at 214-665-7161 for more information.

Additional Guidance References: