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Agency Proposes to Maintain Pollution Permit Requirements for Five Small Industries

Release Date: 03/24/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Enesta Jones, 202-564-7873 /

(03/24/05) On March 23, 2005, EPA proposed a rule that would permanently exempt small facilities in five industrial categories from the requirement to obtain federal operating permits. The proposal would exempt the following "area sources" of toxic air pollution: dry cleaners; halogenated solvent degreasers; chrome electroplaters; ethylene oxide sterilizers; and secondary aluminum smelters. An "area source" emits less than 10 tons a year of a single toxic air pollutant, or fewer than 25 tons of a combination of pollutants. Only facilities that are "area sources" would receive the exemption; permits still would be required for major sources of air toxics in these industry categories.
The proposal would not:

        1. Excuse these facilities from complying with any air emissions control requirements that apply to them such as new source performance standards or maximum achievable control technology or MACT standards;
        2. Exempt secondary lead smelters that are area sources from the requirement to obtain operating permits, unless EPA receives information that is adequate to support exempting them. If EPA does receive that information, the Agency could exempt "area source" smelters in the final rule; and
        3. Prohibit states from issuing federal operating permits to these sources once we have exempted them from the national permitting program. States may continue to issue other types of air permits for such sources, if they so choose.

In order to exempt a category of "area sources" from operating permitting requirements, the Clean Air Act requires that EPA determine that complying with the requirements is impracticable, infeasible, or unnecessarily burdensome for the affected facilities. In most states, these sources will be required to obtain operating permits by Dec. 9, 2005 unless EPA issues the permanent exemption. EPA had deferred the operating permit requirements for these sources in previous rules; however, those deferrals expired in December 2004, generally leaving facilities with one year to submit permit applications.

Under the Title V operating permit programs, every industrial facility that is a major source of toxic air pollution must apply for an operating permit. Smaller "area sources" of pollution also must obtain operating permits unless EPA specifically exempts them from this requirement. EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days following Federal Register publication of the proposed rule.

For more information and copy of this proposed rule, go to: .