ACC Files Rulemaking Petition With The EPA

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) filed an administrative petition for rulemaking with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking that the Agency reconsider, revise and/or rescind its Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations.

The ACC issued the following statement:

"Our administrative petition, filed with EPA today, asks the Agency to revise its approach to the PSD program to conform to the Clean Air Act.  We believe EPA's implementation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) PSD provisions is inappropriately expansive and must be re-examined in light of changed circumstances: the recent finalization of  Section 202 Light Duty Motor Vehicle Rule which, for the first time, makes carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 'subject to regulation' under the Act. 

"Congress in the Clean Air Act established the PSD system to prevent the deterioration of air quality in areas designated as 'in attainment' for certain pollutants. Thus, the Clean Air Act requires a PSD permit only when the emissions of certain 'criteria pollutants' are above specified thresholds in an area designated as in attainment for that pollutant.  Unfortunately, when EPA promulgated its PSD regulations in 1980 and then affirmed them in 2002, EPA took a more expansive interpretation that is inconsistent with the Clean Air Act. EPA's interpretation would require PSD permits based on emission of any regulated pollutant, even where attainment status for a given pollutant in a given area had not been determined.  As a result, EPA's approach is inconsistent with Congress's intent of preventing the deterioration of air quality in certain areas. Instead, EPA's approach requires PSD permits based on the emissions of pollutants that Congress did not intend to trigger such requirements.

 "Our administrative petition calls for EPA to reconsider, rescind, and/or revise its PSD regulations so that they apply only when a major source emits a criteria pollutant for which there is a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).  Under this approach, the PSD program can continue to operate according to the purposes for which it was established: determining whether a city, county or state is 'in attainment' with NAAQS, which have been established only for criteria pollutants.  ACC's petition makes clear that nothing in the petition should be interpreted as support for the position that EPA should use the CAA to regulate GHG emissions from stationary sources, nor that EPA should promulgate a NAAQS for GHGs.  In fact, ACC strongly agrees with the several EPA statements indicating that the NAAQS is an inappropriate tool for regulating GHGs, and we urge EPA to maintain that position. 

"Also today, ACC filed a petition for review in the U.S. District Court of Appeals regarding the PSD regulations at issue.  As ACC explains in the petition, the Federal Register publication of the Light Duty Motor Vehicle Rule constitutes new 'grounds arising after' the promulgation of the PSD regulations to allow judicial review of these regulations. ACC filed this petition as a protective measure to preserve jurisdiction with the court as may be required by federal rules and court decisions.  ACC intends to focus its efforts on addressing the petition for rulemaking with EPA."

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