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EPA Reconsiders Three Rules Under Clean Permitting Program

epalogo4The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reconsidering portions of the three rules under its New Source Review (NSR) clean permitting program for industrial facilities.

These rules determine when and how facilities are required to:

  • account for air emissions that are not released through a stack, vent or other confined air stream
  • keep records on emissions, and
  • account for air emissions associated with fine particle pollution when obtaining a permit.

Environmental groups said the Obama administration is moving to reverse several loopholes created by the EPA under the Bush administration that affected how coal-fired power plants accounted for their air emissions, reports Reuters.

The New York Times reports that the EPA will review its rule on “fugitive emissions,” which outlines how major industries must account for emissions that come from sources other than smokestacks and vents when determining whether upgrades trigger NSR rules under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA will also review an EPA rule published in the Federal Register in December 2008 that addresses how facilities record their emissions and a NSR rule finalized last May that temporarily exempts coal-fired plants from soot standards, reports the NY Times.

The EPA says it is reconsidering these rules to ensure that the public has an opportunity to fully review any recent changes that would impact the implementation of NSR. The agency will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register requesting comment on certain aspects of each of these three rules.

The Department of Energy projects that power-related carbon emissions will jump 15 percent between 2009 and 2030. This is primarily because of permits issued for new or expanded coal plants.

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