On December 14, 2012, EPA issued its final revised air toxics rule for “area” source chemical manufacturing facilities, after OMB completed its review the same day. The final rule revises a national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) rule that dates back to a Bush Administration proposal in 2008, that was modified by the Obama Administration when the rule was initially issued in 2009. In the 2009 rule, the Obama EPA chose not to exempt from Title V permitting requirements “major sources that became synthetic area sources by installing air pollution controls after 1990.” The Bush EPA had proposed to exempt all area sources from Title V permitting requirements. The newly revised rule was in response to a petition by the American Chemistry Council and Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates to modify the 2009 rule.
Area sources are those that are below the Clean Air Act’s major source threshold of 10 tons per year of any one hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tons per year of a combination of hazardous air pollutants. In a January 30, 2012 proposed rule, EPA outlined several industry-backed changes to the rule but still required some chemical area sources to comply with Title V permitting requirements. The final rule made slight revisions from the proposal to make clear that the installation of a federally-enforceable air pollution control device on a chemical manufacturing process unit (CMPU) triggers the Title V permit requirement for any synthetic area source subject to the final rule if the controls are required to maintain the source’s emissions at area source levels.