Environmental Regulatory Update – September 2016
Posted on September 15, 2016
Download the full report for September 2, 2016 (pdf)
Recent Developments (Updated September 2, 2016)
EPA Adopts New Emission Guidelines/Standards for MSW Landfills
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised its emission guidelines for existing municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, which are set forth at 40 CFR Part 60, subpart Cf. Although focused on controlling emissions of nonmethane organic compounds (NMOCs), the change also will result in significant reductions in methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Consistent with the current rule, existing landfills are subject to the guidelines if they have a design capacity of 2.5 million metric tons and 2.5 million cubic meters of waste. Active landfills that meet these thresholds must be equipped with landfill gas collection and control systems if annual NMOC emissions are 34 metric tons or more (down from 50 metric tons under the existing guidelines), unless they can show that surface emissions of methane are below 500 parts per million for four consecutive quarters. The same day it adopted emission guidelines for existing sources, EPA set a 34 metric ton threshold for NMOC emissions from new, reconstructed and modified MSW landfills. EPA estimates that over 1,000 existing landfills will be subject to the new emission guidelines. The new emission guidelines and standards can be found in the August 29, 2016 Federal Register at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys.
DEC Revises Erosion and Sediment Control Standards
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revised the New York State Standards and Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Control, which contain the standard practices for controlling stormwater discharges from construction activities that are subject to New York’s State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit. The revised document updates recommended procedures and technologies to reflect recent developments and implement EPA’s effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) for construction activities, set forth 40 CFR Part 450. Key changes include reorganizing the standard, identifying design considerations for certain types of construction projects, and adding standards/specifications for implementing the ELG and addressing changes in technologies. The Standards and Specifications document can be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8694.html.
EPA Proposes Changes to Title V Petition Process
EPA recently proposed changes to its Title V operating permit regulations to clarify and streamline the process of submitting and reviewing petitions objecting to Title V permits after EPA fails to act on proposed Title V permits. Key changes include: specifying how Title V petitions should be submitted; proposing mandatory petition content and format requirements; and clarifying the obligations of the permitting authority during the permit review process. The proposed rule can be found in the August 24, 2016 Federal Register at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys.
Other Recent Developments
- CLIMATE CHANGE: In response to a 2007 petition, EPA recently issued a long-awaited finding that greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft may endanger public health, a key prerequisite to adopting planned international standards limiting carbon dioxide emissions from jet aircraft and larger turboprop planes.
- OTHER: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration revised the hazardous material transportation regulations to codify a federal law prioritizing the phaseout of certain tanker cars containing crude oil and ethanol over cars transporting other Class 3 flammable liquids.