EPA Abandons Once-In-Always-In Clean Air Act Policy
The Final Rule is effective January 19, 2021.
EPA will officially abandon its longstanding Once-In-Always-In policy for major sources of air pollution under the Clean Air Act.
Under a new Rule, a facility that reduces its potential to emit hazardous air pollutants (HAP) below the major source thresholds can be reclassified as an “area source.” The rule amends the General Provisions of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and implements a “plan language reading” of the definitions for "major source" and "area source" in Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.
NESHAP require facilities to apply specific technologies and controls to specific equipment to keep HAP emissions below EPA thresholds.
Reversing the Once-In-Always-In policy provides a new incentive for facilities to reduce air pollution.
In addition to reversing the once-in-always-in policy, the Rule:
- Finalizes changes to clarify compliance dates, notification and recordkeeping requirements; and
- Adds an electronic reporting requirement
Clean Air Act Major Source vs. Area SourceThe Clean Air Act defines a major source of air pollution as a facility that emits:
- 10 tons per year (tpy) of any single HAP; or
- 25 tpy of any combination of HAP
Major sources are subject to more stringent requirements for controlling air pollution, including Maximum Achievable Control Technology or MACT standards. The requirements for area sources are less stringent, allowing for the use of Generally Available Control Technology (GACT), which are typically less expensive than MACT.
Until a 2018 memo, EPA policy stated that a major source of air pollution remains a major source even if it reduces its potential to emit below the major source threshold (i.e., Once-In-Always-In).
Under the new Rule, which effectively codifies the 2018 memo, a facility that reduces its potential to emit hazardous air pollutants (HAP) below the major source thresholds can be reclassified as an area source if it reduces its potential to emit, or PTE, below the major source threshold levels.
in June 2020, EPA added 1-bromopropane to the list of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP), the first addition to the list in three decades.
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