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EPA Proposes Limited Relief from Emission and Performance Standards Applicable to Stationary Internal Combustion Engines


By Kelly D. Bartley, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

By notice published in the June 7, 2012 Federal Register, EPA proposed amendments that, if finalized, will provide certain owners and operators limited relief from widely-applicable stationary internal combustion engine emission and performance standards set forth in 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart ZZZZ and 40 CFR Part 60, Subparts IIII and JJJJ.  The proposed amendments respond to petitions for reconsideration and legal challenges by several industry groups as well as the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association asserting that certain of the standards, including restraints on the operation of emergency engines, were overly stringent and unworkable. 

Of significance to a large number of sources covered by these standards, EPA has proposed to relax restraints on the operation of emergency engines under the rules.  The current rules allow an engine to qualify as “emergency” and thus avoid numeric emission limitations and associated performance testing and other requirements only if certain qualifications are met including that the engine cannot be operated for purposes of peak shaving.  An existing narrow exception to this is allowed for operation of up to 15 hours per year as part of a qualifying regional transmission authority emergency demand response program.  In the notice, EPA proposes increasing the allowable hours for operation of stationary emergency engines as part of an emergency demand response program and for voltage support to 100 hours per year, included as part of the pre-existing allowance of 100 hours for testing and maintenance, for demand response for energy emergency alert level two situations, and responding to situations when there is at least a five percent or more change in voltage.  Further, EPA has also proposed adding a temporary limited allowance that will expire in April 2017 allowing existing emergency engines located at area sources of HAP to be utilized up to 50 hours per year for any nonemergency purpose, including peak shaving.

In the same notice, EPA has proposed several other amendments intended to provide limited relief from emissions standards for certain existing four-stroke spark ignition engines and certain existing area source compression ignition engines rated above 300 horsepower and further has proposed an alternative compliance demonstration option for four stroke rich burn spark ignition engines subject to a 76 percent or more formaldehyde reduction requirement.  Other minor clarifications and corrections to the rules are also proposed.  Pursuant to a recently published extension, EPA is accepting comments on the proposed amendments until August 9, 2012.

To view a complete PDF of the Second Quarter 2012 issue of the Air Quality Letter, click HERE.


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