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EPA Requires California to Remove Agricultural Exemption

Release Date: 6/26/2003
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano (415) 947-4307

New Source Review permitting program must comply with federal law

Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took action requiring California to remove the agricultural exemption from law for the state’s new pollution source permitting program. This applies to major stationary air emissions sources such as farms with older, dirtier irrigation engines.

Today’s action requires the state to remove the exemption under the new source review program by Nov. 18 to avoid sanctions clocks, including a potential state-wide highway funding freeze.

"California’s efforts to address this issue are encouraging, yet now is the time for decisive action," said Wayne Nastri, EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "The Clean Air Act does not exempt any industry from federal air quality permitting rules," Nastri added.

The EPA proposed removing the agricultural exemption from the state’s new source review program in February. No comments were received during the 30-day public comment period. The call to remove the exemption puts the state on notice that new sanctions clocks will be triggered in November if the change is not made.

Under the Clean Air Act, the new source review program requires any industry to obtain a permit from the state when modifications are made that would increase the facility’s pollution emissions. These permits help states achieve clean air objectives by limiting the pollution from new or modified sources and requiring pollution credits to offset pollution increases.

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