EPA issued the following press release regarding disapproving the Texas Flexible Air Permit Program:
EPA is disapproving 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.
improves our ability to provide the citizens of
The Clean Air Act
ensures that businesses across the country operate efficiently and cleanly to
safeguard public health from harmful levels of air pollution. Under the Act, all
states must develop State Implementation Plans for meeting federal requirements
to protect public health. Those plans
must include an air permitting program to set pollution levels for industrial
facilities. In 1992, EPA approved
In September 2009, EPA proposed to disapprove the state's flexible permits program and invited public comment. EPA has carefully reviewed comments and decided to finalize its proposed disapproval of the program.
To insure no disruptions for facilities, EPA has reached out to industry, the environmental community and TCEQ to discuss how to convert 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. EPA will examine the new rules when submitted but believes that public health and federal law require disapproval of the existing program without further delay.