Thresholds for greenhouse gas permitting announced

On May 13, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final “GHG Tailoring” rule to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources. The phased-in approach will initially address large facilities like power plants and oil refineries that emit most of the greenhouse gases from stationary sources. The regulated GHGs include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

Starting in January 2011, Clean Air Act permitting requirements for GHGs will apply to large facilities that are already obtaining Clean Air Act permits for other pollutants. Those facilities will be required to include GHGs in their permit if they increase their GHG emissions by 75,000 tons per year (tpy). In July 2011, permitting requirements will expand to cover all new facilities with GHG emissions of at least 100,000 tpy and modifications at existing facilities that would increase GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy. The permits must demonstrate the use of best available control technologies to minimize GHG emission increases when facilities are constructed or significantly modified. EPA estimates approximately 900 additional permitting actions covering new sources and modifications to existing sources would be subject to review each year. In addition, 550 sources will need to obtain operating permits for the first time because of their GHG emissions.

Permitting requirements for smaller sources will await the findings of a 5-year study of the effects of GHG permitting of these sources, slated for completion in 2015.

According to the EPA press release announcing the final rule, the agency received about 450,000 (!) comments within the 60-day public comment period that followed issuance of the proposed rule in October 2009.

More information on the GHG Tailoring Rule and its implementation schedule can be found at

What do you think? Has EPA struck the proper balance between regulating a significant threat to health and the environment and providing relief to small businesses and farms?

Air pollutant emission standards for boilers and process heaters

On April 29, 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed three rules to regulate hazardous air emissions from commercial, institutional and industrial boilers, process heaters and incinerators at major and area sources.

One of the proposed rules addresses boilers at area sources – facilities that potentially emit less than 10 tons per year (tpy) of any single hazardous air pollutant or 25 tpy of combined air toxics. The rule will apply to facilities with boilers that burn coal, oil or biomass (i.e., wood), but not waste materials. New boilers that burn coal would need to meet emission standards for mercury, particulates and carbon monoxide. New boilers burning oil or biomass will need to meet emission limits for particulates and carbon monoxide. Existing large boilers (heat input of 10 million Btu/hr or greater) that burn coal will be required to meet emission limits for mercury and carbon monoxide; existing large boilers that are oil or biomass-fired will have an emission limit for carbon monoxide, only. The rule requires that all facilities with large boilers conduct an energy assessment to identify practicable conservation measures. Facilities with small boilers will be required only to conduct a boiler tune-up at least once every two years.

The second rule applies to boilers and process heaters at major source facilities. The rule will apply to boilers that burn natural gas, fuel oil, coal, biomass or other gas, but not waste, and to process heaters (which heat raw or intermediate materials in an industrial process).
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Compliance Alert: Deadline for Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Form R report is July 1

Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) Form R or Form A reports are due by July 1! If your facility:

  • has 10 or more employees;
  • is included among certain covered industrial categories, including manufacturers that correspond to SIC Codes 20 through 39; some mining operations; utilities that burn coal or oil for commercial electrical generation; chemical wholesalers; petroleum bulk storage terminals; and waste treatment, disposal and recovery facilities; and
  • manufactured, imported, processed or otherwise used listed toxic chemicals above threshold reporting quantities,

(link to EPA reporting page)
Then you are likely required to report your releases and off-site transfers of the toxic chemicals.  More information on these requirements is linked at  You can visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s TRI reporting materials page by clicking on the image at right.

Does your facility need to comply? Are you ready to meet this requirement? As always, feel free to contact T. Cozzie Consulting for further information or assistance.

EPA agrees: Saccharin is not so bad, after all…

In the April 22 Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to remove saccharin and its salts from the lists of hazardous constituents and commercial chemical products which are hazardous wastes when discarded. EPA also proposed to remove saccharin and its salts from the list of hazardous substances regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The Calorie Control Council petitioned EPA to remove saccharin and its salts from the above lists. Evaluations conducted by public health agencies such as the National Toxicological Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have demonstrated that saccharin and its salts do not have either cancer-causing or other toxic effects that meet the criteria for listing as hazardous constituents, hazardous wastes, and hazardous substances.

When finalized, the proposed amendments will provide relief to manufacturers of soft drinks, flavoring syrups, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics from RCRA requirements to manage and dispose of unused or “off-spec” saccharin and its salts as hazardous wastes, as well as CERCLA reporting requirements for spills or releases.

I found this interesting because I have not heard much about saccharin in years, as other sugar substitutes like aspartame and sucralose (e.g., Splenda) have replaced it in common use. Do you remember when saccharin gained notoriety as a suspected human carcinogen?  Do any food products even contain saccharin as a “low-cal sweetener” anymore?

EPA proposes expansion of mandatory greenhouse gases reporting requirements

In three four (!) separate notices published in the April 12 Federal Register, the US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to expand the information required under the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule.  The additional information to be required includes…

  • reporting of emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (GHGs) from certain sources, such as electronics manufacturing, production of fluorinated gases, and use of electrical transmission and distribution equipment, as well as manufacture or refurbishment of electrical equipment;
  • reporting on carbon dioxide (CO2) injection and geologic sequestration;
  • emissions reporting from the following industry segments:  petroleum and natural gas production, natural gas processing, natural gas transmission compressor stations, underground natural gas storage, liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage, LNG import and export terminals and distribution; and
  • for reporters subject to the rule to provide:  the name, address, and ownership status of their US parent company; their primary and all other applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes; and an indication of whether or not any of their reported emissions are from a cogeneration unit.

For more information on the proposed rules and how to comment, visit the EPA’s GHG reporting web page.

SPCC (Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure) Plan Template for qualified facilities is now available

The Environmental Protection Agency has published its template Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan for use by qualified Tier 1 facilities.  To use the template SPCC Plan, a facility can store no more than 10,000 gallons of oil in aboveground storage with no single storage container or tank larger than 5,000 gallons, and cannot have had within the past three years either one spill or release of more than 1,000 gallons or two spills that each exceeded 42 gallons within a 12-month period.
PDF download
You can download a fill-in PDF version of the SPCC Plan template by clicking (or right click to save) the PDF icon to the right.

Other versions of the SPCC Plan template (MS Word and Wordperfect) can be found on the EPA website.

Remember, the deadline to amend or prepare and implement an SPCC Plan meeting the latest requirements is November 10, 2010.  Visit our spill prevention page for additional information and guidance on compliance with SPCC Plan requirements. Or contact T. Cozzie Consulting if you have further questions about how the SPCC rule applies to your facility, or desire assistance with your SPCC Plan.

EPA proposes adding 16 chemicals to Toxic Release Inventory reporting rule

On April 6, EPA proposed to add sixteen (16) chemicals to the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (your Form R or Form A submissions due each July 1). These sixteen chemicals have been classified by the National Toxicology Program as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Based on its review of available production and use information, EPA has concluded that these sixteen chemicals are manufactured, processed, or otherwise used in quantities that would exceed the EPCRA section 313 reporting thresholds.

The 16 chemicals include:

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For “major” sources of air pollution, the hits keep coming…

In a matter of a few weeks, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed several actions that could have dramatic impacts for facilities subject to Clean Air Act New Source Review (NSR) provisions (i.e., major sources of air pollutant emissions).  These actions address the grandfathering provision for fine particulate emissions, the fugitive emissions rule and the aggregation rule.  To wit:

  • On February 4, EPA proposed to repeal the NSR “grandfathering provision” for emissions of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns, or micrometers, in diameter (PM2.5), commonly termed “fine particulates.”  The rule had allowed permit applicants to rely on permitting requirements for “coarse particulates” – particulate matter 10 microns or less in diameter, or PM10 –  as a surrogate for PM2.5 requirements if the application had been submitted prior to July 15, 2008.  The EPA proposal also will end the “PM10 surrogate policy” by no later than May 2011, eliminating the use of PM10 as a substitute for PM2.5 analysis in State permitting programs.
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