Agreement Delays Particulate NAAQS Standards Update Slightly

In an agreement reached yesterday, a federal judge allowed two motions that have delayed the publishing of new National Ambient Air Quality Standards by one week. The montions also delayed the final rule until afte the elections this fall.

As we discussed earlier this week, EPA had a court ordered deadline of today to publish a new set of NAAQS for particulate matter. This came after several years of law suits and legal maneuvering following the last proposal in 2006. The judge in the case had finally had enough and has forced EPA to come up with new standards for particulate.

The new schedule for the NAAQS update is this. June 14 EPA must publish a new particulate matter NAAAQS proposed rule. They must then seek expedited publication in the Federal Register (this is when the comment period opens). There will then be a 60 day comment period. If all goes according to plan, the final rule will be published on or by December 15, 2012. Now, how this will play out is still up in the air somewhat but at least we have dates to look at.

How will this really affect gins? Well the NAAQS is the standard set out in the Clean Air Act that establishes attainment and non-attainment areas. If a facility is in a non-attainment area, a whole new set of rules will be placed on that facility for permits and operations. It can make the whole permitting process problematic and possibly cause additional controls to be put on gins.

Once the rule is proposed, commented on and finalized, it can take years for the states to begin the process of implementing new requirements to try to bring industries into compliance with that new rule. This is partly why we see frustration and confusion among regulators in some places. They hardly get started on putting measures in place to meet a standard for the state or metro area when EPA moves the target again and a whole new group of things have to be looked at. Very confusing.

As we get additional information on this we will get it to you.