Thursday, July 1, 2010

TCEQ Flexible Permit Program Rejected By EPA

EPA has announced final disapproval of the flexible permit program that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had submitted for inclusion in its clean-air implementation plan. EPA has determined that this program does not meet several national Clean Air Act requirements that help to assure the protection of health and the environment. EPA rejected the permit program after determining that 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.

In September 2009, EPA proposed to disapprove the state's flexible permits program and invited public comment.

EPA has entered into discussions on how to convert existing flexible permits into more detailed permits that comply with the Clean Air Act. One tool proposed by EPA is encouraging flexible permit holders to participate in a voluntary compliance audit program. The program will expedite efforts to identify emission limits, operating requirements and monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping data. Public comment on the proposed audit program closes on July 2, 2010.

On June 16, 2010, the TCEQ approved proposed revisions to the state’s flexible permit rules. The public comment period on the rules package opens on July 2, 2010 and runs through August 2, 2010. The state must then finalize its proposal and submit it to EPA for review.

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