Posted on September 11, 2019
Download the full report for September 6, 2019 (pdf)
Recent Developments in Environmental Regulatory News (September 6, 2019)
DEC Proposes New Stationary Combustion and Other Air Regulations
In the past month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposed several new/revised air pollution control regulations, the majority of which address stationary combustion installations. The new/revised regulations include the following: (1) 6 NYCRR Subpart 218-7, Aftermarket Parts (prohibiting sale of federal aftermarket catalytic converters for use on automobiles, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles); (2) 6 NYCRR Part 222, Distributed Generation Sources Located in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland Counties (proposing post-litigation replacement rule establishing strict emission standards, notification, recordkeeping and other requirements for economic dispatch sources, i.e., sources that provide electricity for general use at a particular location in place of electricity supplied by utilities); (3) 6 NYCRR Subpart 225-2, Fuel Composition and Use—Waste Oil as a Fuel (replacing existing rules governing the burning of waste fuel for energy recovery, including updating key definitions, imposing stricter limits on hazardous constituents, expanding the types of facilities allowed to burn waste fuel generated onsite, and other changes); (4) 6 NYCRR Subpart 227-1, Stationary Combustion Installations (replacing and updating existing regulations limiting particulate matter [PM] emissions from oil and solid fuel-fired stationary combustion installations, including lowering PM emission standards, updating testing, monitoring and recordkeeping requirements, and eliminating other outdated provisions); and (5) 6 NYCRR 227-3, Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emission Rate Limits for Simple Cycle and Regenerative Combustion Turbines (establishing strict emission limits for so-called “peaking turbines”—units that are typically run during periods of peak electricity demand). The proposed rules can be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html.
EPA Proposes to Update Water Quality Certification Regulations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to clarify and streamline Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements and procedures relating to state/tribal water quality certifications (WQC). Under CWA § 401, a federal agency may not issue a permit or license to conduct any activity that may result in a discharge to waters of the United States unless the state or tribe where the discharge originates either certifies that the discharge complies with water quality requirements or waives the certification requirement. The proposed rule—which is set forth at 40 CFR Part 121—addresses: the statutory and regulatory timelines for reviewing and acting on Section 401 certifications, including specifying that the time for reviewing the WQC request begins to run when it is received, regardless of whether it is “complete”; the appropriate scope of Section 401 review and conditions, which should be limited to evaluating potential water quality impacts associated with discharges from point sources to waters of the United States; the scope of information relevant to state/tribal Section 401 certification review; and the various options for responding to certification requests (approval, approval with conditions, denial and waiver) and EPA’s authority to review/reject those decisions. The rulemaking follows the issuance of guidance earlier this year that implements many of the proposed changes to the rule. The proposed rule can be found in the August 22, 2019 Federal Register at: www.govinfo.gov.
EPA Seeks Comment on Lists of High/Low Priority Chemicals for TSCA Risk Evaluation
EPA is requesting comments on its first lists of chemicals proposed to be designated as either high or low priority candidates for risk assessment under the 2016 revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The updated TSCA statute requires EPA to identify “high priority” existing chemicals, evaluate the relative risks, and mitigate any risks determined to be unreasonable. With the recent notice, EPA formally proposed to designate 20 chemicals as high priority based on numerous factors, including, but not limited to, hazard and exposure potential, persistence and bioaccumulation, and potential exposed or susceptible subpopulations, among other factors. The list of 20 high priority chemicals includes phthalate esters, chlorinated solvents, halogenated flame retardants, and other chemicals, including formaldehyde. EPA also proposed a list of 20 low priority candidate chemicals that it has determined do not warrant further risk evaluation at this time. The notices announcing the low and high priority substance lists can be found in the August 15, 2019 and August 23, 2019 Federal Register, respectively, at: www.govinfo.gov.
Other Recent Developments
- AIR: EPA finalized actions for 11 areas classified as moderate nonattainment under the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standards, including reclassifying the New York City metropolitan area from moderate to serious nonattainment.
- AIR: EPA proposed the results of its residual risk/periodic technology review of the following National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: integrated iron and steel manufacturing, site remediation, and miscellaneous coating manufacturing. In each case, EPA found that the existing standard protects public health with an ample margin of safety. However, with respect to each of the standards, EPA proposed various other changes, including additional work practice standards, emission limits, and/or special standards applicable during startup, shutdown and malfunction.
- WATER: EPA decided not to establish hazardous substance spill prevention requirements comparable to those for oil under the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures program after concluding that no new requirements were necessary given the frequency and impact of hazardous substance discharges and the extent of existing regulations.
- OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requested information on the effectiveness of work practices, tasks and equipment that are not currently included on the list of approved methods contained in the respirable crystalline silica standard for construction.
New York State
- AIR: DEC incorporated new federal guidelines for existing municipal solid waste landfills into the State’s existing regulations in place of the landfill gas collection and control system standards for landfills set forth at 6 NYCRR Part 208.