Monday, May 19, 2014

DEP Extends Deadline For Hearings On RACT Emissions Reduction Plans

The Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced the Environmental Quality Board has extended the registration deadline for three public hearings across the state on the department’s Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) proposal to ensure ample opportunity for public participation.
First published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on April 19, the EQB has extended the pre-registration deadline for all three hearings until May 22. Previously, registration was required a week prior to the hearings for persons intending to provide public comment.
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RACT is the lowest emission limitation that a particular source is capable of meeting by the application of control technology that is reasonably available considering technological and economic feasibility.
The proposal establishes additional requirements for existing major stationary sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as required under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).
The CAA requires Pennsylvania to re-evaluate RACT requirements for major stationary sources following the creation of new national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This re-evaluation of RACT is being proposed due to the EPA’s revised ozone NAAQS in 1997 and 2008.
As part of the evaluation, state and local agencies must either make new RACT determinations or certify that existing RACT controls represent RACT for the 1997 and 2008 ozone standards. As proposed, the allowable emission rates will be lower than current allowable rates.
RACT is required by the EPA for ozone non-attainment areas, and because Pennsylvania is located in the Ozone Transport Region, all major sources in the state are treated as being located in at least a moderate ozone non-attainment area. However, 30 of the 37 counties in Pennsylvania with ozone monitors are already monitoring attainment of the 2008 ozone NAAQS based on 2011-2013 monitoring data.
Upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin as a final rulemaking, the final-form regulation will be submitted to the EPA for approval as a revision to the State Implementation Plan.
The dates, times and locations of the three hearings are as follows:
-- May 27 at 1 p.m., DEP Southwest Regional Office, Waterfront Conference Rooms A and B, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh
-- May 28 at 1 p.m., DEP Southeast Regional Office, Delaware and Schuylkill Conference Rooms, 2 East Main Street, Norristown
-- May 29 at 1 p.m., Rachel Carson State Office Building, Conference Room 105, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg
The proposal will be open for public comment until June 30. Comments, including the submission of a one-page summary of comments, may be submitted to the EQB online, by mail or express mail as follows:
Comments may be submitted online by accessing the EQB’s Regulatory Comment System. If an acknowledgement of comments submitted online is not received by the sender within 2 business days, the comments should be resubmitted to the EQB to ensure receipt.
Written comments should be mailed to the Environmental Quality Board, P. O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.  Express mail should be sent to the Environmental Quality Board, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 16th Floor, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301.
Faxed comments will not be accepted.
Persons wishing to present testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the EQB at 717-787-4526. Oral testimony is limited to ten minutes per person. Witnesses are requested to submit three written copies of their oral testimony to the hearing chairperson at the hearing. Organizations must designate one witness to present testimony on their behalf at each hearing.
Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact the EQB by phone or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 800-654-5984 (TDD) or 800-654-5988 (voice users) to discuss how the EQB may accommodate their needs.

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