The controversial Waters of the United States rule is back. Earlier this week, a US District Court in Alabama reinstated the rule in 26 states. Ironically not in South Carolina or nearly all of the Southeast for that matter.
The district court ruled that the Trump Administration had not given the public enough time or ability to comment on its plan to declare the WOTUS rule (a 2015 Obama era rule) dead and intend to replace it with something else. Since the public didn’t have enough time in the opinion of the court, the rule is back in effect in a majority of the states. Twenty-four states have other court action pending and therefore the rule will not be reinstated in those states.
A much more detailed article can be found on DTN Progressive Famer’s Site.
This article is mostly directed at the gins in Georgia but there is a bit of information that all gins should take from it. For the past several years we’ve seen a lot of changes to air quality permits in the region. North Carolina was the first to change to a general permit and it required baseline and periodic checking of the air flows. Next was South Carolina that developed a general permit equipment based standard that didn’t require a baseline but did require more frequent checking of the air. Then North Carolina did away with the small permits but left the underlying rules in place. In 2017, Georgia developed a new equipment based rule that provides gins an alternative to a process weight formula. This new rule will be much easier to comply with and obtain permits going forward. We are now in the process of implementing that new rule.
In order for the new rule (or addition to the old rule) to be effective, gins will need to have it incorporated into their permits. Since Georgia permits don’t expire, we have a wide variety of requirements in permits that have been written over the years. Some gins may have no reference to any particular rule, some may have a reference that says something like you must stay in compliance with rule (q) and some may have mathematical formulas that indicated an emission limit or variations on all of the above.
If your permit has a formula, you will definitely need to update your permit to include the new language. If the permit has a reference to rule (q) with no formula or if the permit just has a general reference to the air quality rules, you’re fine if you haven’t updated the gin. If you’ve made changes to the gin since your permit was issued, you will want to update it as well.
If you need to update your permit because you need to add the updated rules or if you’ve made changes to your gin or both, we are in the beginning stages of getting that done.
Over the next few months, we will be sending out letters to all Georgia gins explaining the changes, the new rule and how to update your permit. We are asking that you start preparing Continue reading