August 28, 2015
The attorneys general of 17 states are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for invalidating agency-approved state implementation plans (SIPs) governing emissions from power generators during startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) operations, according to an August 12, 2015 report from PowerMag.com.
The states have asked a federal court to review the EPA’s June 2015 issued final rule which deems SIP provisions concerning SSM operations in 36 states (applicable in 45 statewide and local jurisdictions) as “substantially inadequate to meet Clean Air Act requirements.” The rule issued a State Implementation Plan SIP call directing affected states to correct SSM provisions to reflect recent court decisions, which have voided exemptions previously adopted and approved into SIPs many years ago.
Exemptions removed include affirmative defense provisions, which, owing to the April 2014 federal court decision in NRDC v. EPA, can no longer insulate power generators from monetary penalties for Clean Air Act violations that result from facility startup, shutdown, and equipment malfunction when certain criteria are met (i.e., making repairs expeditiously, taking all possible steps to minimize emissions, and operating in a manner consistent with good practices for minimizing emissions).
The rule requires states to submit revised SIPs by November 2016.
The EPA says it issued the final rule in response to a petition for rulemaking filed by the Sierra Club.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in an Aug. 11 statement that the EPA’s final rule is a “heavy-handed federal overreach [that] threatens to upend a system that the EPA has approved multiple times.”
States suing the EPA are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
What this means to you
SSM exemptions have removed affirmative defense provisions that insulated power generators from SSM penalties when certain criteria – expeditious repairs, taking steps to minimize emissions, operating with good emission minimizing practices – are met.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to learn how to control SSM emissions with your stationary engines