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EPA Seeks Additional Toxic Emissions Reductions

Release Date: 12/21/2006
Contact Information: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 /

(12/21/06) To provide incentives for reduced air toxic emissions, EPA is proposing to amend what are known as the "General Provisions" to its air toxics standards. The proposed amendment would encourage industrial facilities to reduce air toxics emissions so they are no longer considered a "major source" of air pollution.

Major sources have the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of a single toxic air pollutant or 25 tons per year of any combination of toxic air pollutants. If a source emits less than these amounts, they are called an area source.

The proposed amendment would allow a major source to become an area source at any time by limiting its potential to emit toxic air pollutants to below the major source thresholds. The limit would be enforced through a permit. Once a major source becomes an area source, it would be subject to an area source standard if there is one for that industry.

The United States has made significant progress in reducing air toxics from industry, fuels and vehicles, and indoor sources. Since the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, EPA has issued 96 standards for 174 different types of industrial sources of air toxics, including chemical plants, oil refineries, aerospace manufacturers and steel mills. The agency also has issued regulations for 21 categories of smaller sources, such as dry cleaners, commercial sterilizers, secondary lead smelters and chromium electroplating facilities. Together, these standards are projected to reduce annual emissions of air toxics by about 1.7 million tons from 1990 levels when fully implemented.

EPA will accept comments for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Read the fact sheet on this action:

Read the proposal: