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EPA Proposes Steps to Improve New Source Review

Release Date: 09/08/2006
Contact Information: Jennifer Wood, (202) 564-4355 /

(9/8/06) The Bush Administration is proposing improvements to three specific areas of its New Source Review (NSR) permitting program. These improvements will simplify the process facility owners and operators must follow in determining whether plans to modify their facility would trigger NSR requirements.

The Bush Administration's NSR improvements would accelerate investments in cleaner energy-saving technologies. Existing permit limits on emissions would not be affected, and the proposed changes would encourage investments in refining capacity, improve industries' efficiency and reduce demand for natural gas. The improvements would also lower energy costs to households and consumers.

Today's proposal includes the final set of proposals from EPA's 2002 recommendations to the president on how to clarify the NSR program to improve investment in utility and refinery capacity. These proposals are also a part of the president's clean air initiatives, which are designed to bring cleaner air to Americans: the Clean Air Diesel rule will dramatically cut pollution by more than 90 percent from heavy-duty diesel engines used in construction, agricultural, and industrial equipment and the Clean Air Interstate Rule will require coal-burning power plants to make the steepest emissions cuts in over a decade. Together with other Clean Air Act programs, these landmark rules will improve air quality so nearly all areas of the country will meet air quality standards.

Today's proposal addresses the following three components:

1. Debottlenecking: EPA is proposing to change how NSR applies when an owner or operator modifies one portion of a facility in such a manner that production or throughput in other unchanged portions of the facility increases, thereby increasing overall efficiency of the facility. This type of modification is known as a "debottlenecking" project. Under the proposal, unchanged portions of the facility would not be subject to NSR if emissions from those portions have already been taken into account in a prior permit or regulatory action.

2. Aggregation: EPA is proposing to clarify how NSR applies when multiple projects are implemented at a facility. EPA is proposing that projects that are related should be treated as a single project (e.g. aggregated) if one of them is dependent on another. The rule provides additional information about how EPA makes this determination.

3. Project Netting: EPA is proposing to simplify the step in the calculation used to determine whether NSR applies when emissions increases and decreases are added together (called "netting").

Both aggregation and debottlenecking have been implemented through EPA guidance on a case by case basis in the past. The proposal would provide certainty to both the regulated community and the permitting authorities.

EPA will accept comment on this rule for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

More information about the proposed improvements to the NSR program: