May 22, 2010
EPA Finalizes Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule
On May 13, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that regulates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA) permitting programs. The rule is “tailored” to raise the emission threshold for major sources of GHGs above the thresholds for other pollutants. Currently, sources of criteria pollutants with emissions exceeding 100 and 250 tons per year are subject to Title V and New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting, and are required to install Best Available Control Technologies (BACT).
The GHG tailoring rule will be implemented in 3 steps over the next two (2) years and will require control of GHGs from sources emitting 75,000 to 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year (TPY). EPA is also evaluating the expansion of this rule to include smaller sources emitting 50,000 TPY. The majority of newly permitted sources will be solid waste landfills and industrial facilities.
For comparison purposes, using EPA’s LandGEM emission calculation tool, the 75,000 to 100,000 TPY thresholds equate to:
• Landfill gas (LFG) emission rates ranging from approximately 670 to 875 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at 50% methane
• MSW landfills accepting 150,000 tons per year or more over a 9 to 12-year period
BACT for landfills is presumed to be gas collection and control systems. As a result, this rule will mandate the installation of active LFG collection and control systems at facilities well under the current NSPS thresholds , and possibly make these facilities ineligible to claim carbon credits for the voluntary destruction of methane.
Step 1 of the rule will be implemented from January 2, 2011 through June 30, 2011, and will regulate sources currently subject to the PSD permitting program due to emissions of non-GHG pollutants. Increases in emissions of GHGs of 75,000 TPY or more would trigger determination of the BACT for their emissions, and modification of the Title V operating permit to reflect the increase in emissions.
Step 2 would be implemented no later than July 1, 2012, and would on require Title V permitting for sources emitting 100,000 TPY or more of GHGs, and impose PSD permitting requirements and BACT existing sources with modifications that increase GHG emissions by 75,000 TPY or more.
Step 3 will occur from the beginning of 2011 to July 1, 2012, and consists of additional rulemaking by EPA to determine whether smaller sources should be included or excluded from permitting. If established, this additional permitting may apply to sources with GHG emissions as low as 50,000 TPY. If additional rulemaking is finalized, it would not require additional permitting of smaller sources until April 30, 2016.
Further information on the tailoring rule may be downloaded from the EPA web site here.