PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established thresholds for greenhouse gas emissions in June 2010 that define when a permit is required under the Title V program of the federal Clean Air Act. Ecology's chapter 173-401 WAC, Operating permit regulation, contains the state rules implementing the federal program. Ecology must update the state rule to include the federal greenhouse gas thresholds before January 2, 2011. Failure to do so means that hundreds of sources of greenhouse gas emissions at one hundred tons or more per year would have to obtain an air operating permit for their operations.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 70.94.161 and 70.94.520.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: EPA issued a rule in two phases that determined that greenhouse gases from stationary sources were subject to regulation under the federal Clean Air Act. The rule set thresholds for greenhouse gas emissions that define when a permit is required under the air operating permit program. Under the first phase, an existing source with an air operating permit must report its greenhouse gas emissions when renewing or revising their permit. The second phase, beginning July 1, 2011, expands applicability for an air operating permit to include any source with greenhouse gas emission of 100,000 tons or more per year. A source that becomes subject to an air operating permit on July 1, 2011, solely because of greenhouse gas emission must submit an air operating permit application on or before July 1, 2012.
Ecology must align its rule with the federal thresholds before the January 2, 2011, deadline. When ecology implements EPA's new, higher thresholds, hundreds of sources in Washington emitting greenhouse gases at or above one hundred tons per year will not have to obtain an air operating permit in addition to other air permits that may be required.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Ecology will work closely with EPA, energy facility site evaluation council (EFSEC), and local air agencies to keep them apprised of our rule making through e-mail and general information material. Both EFSEC and local air agencies issue the air operating permits to sources in their jurisdiction. On July 29, 2010, an ecology assistant attorney general notified EPA Region 10 of our intent to update our state rule to include the federal thresholds.
Process for Developing New Rule: Ecology is inserting the new federal language into the existing rule without making any material changes. As such, we will notify existing air operating permit sources, ecology's greenhouse gas listserve, EFSEC, and Washington local air agencies of our intent to adopt the federal requirements. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule. Ecology will hold at least one public hearing and the proposed amendments will be posted on the agency web site and provided to interested parties.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Elena Guilfoil, Air Quality Program, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6855, fax (360) 407-7534, e-mail Elena.firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested parties can access more information on this rule making by contacting the ecology staff member listed above or accessing the ecology web site http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/index.html.
August 18, 2010
Stuart A. Clark