EPA Narrows Terms on Grouping Mfg Plants for Air Permit

03 January 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued more narrowed terms on grouping manufacturers for air permits.

Only chemical plants, paper mills, and mining operations located next to one another will be treated as a single, major source. Anything beyond this basic definition will be considered individual sources, according to final EPA guidance released on November 26th. The guidance marks the end of EPA’s dated practice of grouping more widely spaced sources of related industrial operations as a single “major” facility. This will result in fewer classifications of “major” sources, which will increase oversight by the U.S. Clean Air Act and prompt stricter pollution control rules.

Under the law, any facilities or plants emitting 100 tons or more of pollution annually, located on adjacent or contiguous properties, and under common ownership are considered “major” sources. This sources are required to install the best available pollution control technologies and obtain a permit for operations, and/or a new source review permit for expansion or construction.

This latest effort by the EPA is to ease permitting requirements for refineries, power plants and factories, especially those constructing or expanding in a way that increases emissions and triggers the need for New Source Review permits.