Environmental Permitting, Regulatory Developments, Special Topics in Environmental Management

EPA Proposes Fixes for GHG Permitting Regs

In its continuing effort to bring its Clean Air Act (CAA) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (UARG v. EPA), the Agency is proposing several amendments to provisions in its Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. Essentially, the proposal describes specific conditions under which stationary sources that emit GHGs will not be required to obtain PSD permits or Title V permits.

The regulations originate in EPA’s 2010 Tailoring Rule. That action comprised two steps. Under Step 1, PSD and Title V requirements were made applicable to only those sources that had previously been required to obtain PSD and Title V permits based on emissions of pollutants other than GHGs; these are termed anyway sources. Step 2 expanded the permitting program to apply to sources that had the potential to emit only GHGs above applicable thresholds. While Step 1 has withstood legal challenges, Step 2 was found illegal and vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; that position was upheld by the Supreme Court in UARG v. EPA.

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