Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Pennsylvania; Streamlining Amendments to the Plan Approval Regulations
Apr 12, 2012 (Environmental Protection Agency Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) --
SUMMARY: EPA is proposing to grant limited approval to a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) on April 14, 2009. The revision pertains to PADEP's plan approval requirements for the construction, modification, and operation of sources, and is primarily intended to streamline the process for minor permitting actions. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
EFFECTIVE DATE: Written comments must be received on or before May 14, 2012.
ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2009-0882 by one of the following methods:
A. www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
B . Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2009-0882, Kathleen Cox, Associate Director, Office of Permits and Air Toxics, Mailcode 3AP10, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.
D. Hand Delivery: At the previously-listed EPA Region III address. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.
Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2009-0882. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an "anonymous access" system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.
Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. Copies of the State submittal are available at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality Control, P.O. Box 8468, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Talley, (215) 814-2117, or by email at email@example.com.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document, whenever "we," "us," or "our" is used, we mean EPA. On April 14, 2009, PADEP submitted revisions to its State Implementation Plan (SIP). The proposed revisions consist of amendments to the plan approval requirements for the construction, modification, reactivation, and operation of sources.
Table of Contents
II. Summary of SIP Revision
III. Proposed Action
IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
Generally speaking, anyone constructing or operating a source in Pennsylvania that emits pollutants into the air must comply with the general requirement to obtain a "plan approval" prior to construction as outlined in 25 Pa. Code 127, Subchapters A and B. These subchapters are generally considered the state's minor New Source Review (NSR) program covering minor sources as well as minor changes at major sources. Major sources are subject to the additional requirements of subchapters D Prevention Significant Deterioration (PSD) and E (nonattainment NSR). Subchapter E also includes additional provisions relating to minor changes at major sources for ozone precursors Nitrogen Oxides and Volatile Organic Compounds (NOx and VOCs). A plan approval is a permit that authorizes construction, installation, or modification of any air pollution source. In evaluating the plan approval application, PADEP checks to see that both the operation of the source and the control equipment installed to reduce air pollution meet the applicable technical and engineering requirements. The public is given an opportunity to comment on the plan approval application. In addition to being a permit to construct, the plan approval provides temporary authorization for the source to operate to assure that the equipment functions properly. This temporary authorization is known as the "shakedown" period.
The plan approval regulations that are the subject of this proposed action are codified at 25 Pa. Code 127, Subchapter B (relating to general requirements for all plan approvals). EPA last took action on these provisions on July 30, 1996. Pennsylvania adopted the amendments being proposed in this action, and published notice of final rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on May 24, 2008. The primary purpose of the amendments is to streamline the permitting process by eliminating some of the administrative burden and costs associated with processing minor permitting actions, while preserving the right of the public to review and comment on those proposed actions. The proposed amendments generally affect five regulations: Section 127.12b, pertaining to "shakedown" periods for new or modified sources; section 127.12d, pertaining to completeness determinations; sections 127.44 and 127.45, pertaining to public notice requirements; and section 127.48, pertaining to conferences and hearings. The specific revisions are discussed in detail below.
II. Summary of SIP Revision
A. 25 Pa. Code 127.12b: Plan Approval Terms and Conditions
Section 127.12b(d), as approved by EPA on July 30, 1996, authorizes a temporary "shakedown" period for new and modified sources and air cleaning equipment for a period of 180 days pending issuance of a state operating permit or a Title V permit, "* * * to permit the evaluation of the air contamination aspects of the source" (see section 127.12b(d)). The regulation as currently approved in Pennsylvania's SIP also allows for limited extensions of this period, with each extension limited to 120 days. The proposed revision increases the permissible duration of the extensions to 180 days.
B. 25 Pa. Code 127.12d: Completeness Determination
The proposed revisions incorporate new requirements into the Pennsylvania SIP that outline PADEP's obligations with respect to determining whether an applicant has submitted an administratively complete application, and notifying the applicant of that decision. These requirements are codified at section 127.12d(a) thru (c). Section 127.12d(a) requires PADEP to make a completeness determination and provide notice to the applicant within 30 days of receipt of the application. Section 127.12d(b) establishes guidelines for what constitutes an administratively complete application. In the event an application is deemed to be incomplete, section 127.12d(c) requires PADEP to notify the applicant of the specific deficiency, and to return the application and fees to the applicant if the requested information is not submitted within ten (10) working days of being notified by PADEP that the application is incomplete. These regulations as proposed by PADEP are consistent with CAA requirements, and are in fact more prescriptive than their Federal counterparts at 40 CFR 51.166(q)(1).
C. 25 Pa. Code 127.44: Public Notice and 25 Pa. Code 127.45: Contents of Notice
The public notice requirements of section 127.44 as currently approved in the Pennsylvania SIP make no distinction between major and minor permitting actions--the requirements are the same. Pennsylvania adopted the proposed revisions to the public notice requirements of section 127.44 (and 127.45, below) in an effort to streamline the process for minor permitting actions and allow PADEP to focus its limited resources on major permitting actions.
In the current SIP, section 127.44 sections (a)(1) thru (6) list the types of plan approvals for which the public notice requirements apply. These include section (a)(5): "Other sources required to obtain plan approval," which has the effect of applying the notice requirements to all plan approval actions equally. Pennsylvania has a robust minor New Source Review (NSR) program. Very few sources escape the requirement to obtain a plan approval, and every plan approval is subject to public notice requirements. Prior to these revisions, significant time and resources were being spent on relatively minor permitting actions. The proposed revisions involve the bifurcation of the notice requirements into a new section 127.44(a) which applies to minor actions, and a new section 127.44(b) which applies to major actions as well as any action for which PADEP determines that significant public interest exists. The remaining unchanged sections were re-ordered sequentially to allow for the bifurcation.
--This is a summary of a Federal Register article originally published on the page number listed below--
CFR Part: "40 CFR Part 52"
Citation: "77 FR 21908"
Document Number: "EPA-R03-OAR-2009-0882; FRL-9656-9"
Federal Register Page Number: "21908"
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