McCrory administration protects air quality, cuts red tape for more than 50% of permitted businesses

RALEIGH

A new environmental rule will reduce paperwork for more than 1,400 business owners while freeing up resources North Carolina will use to protect air quality. The businesses that would qualify for air permit exemptions include food manufacturing and colleges and universities.

About 1,100 very small industrial facilities will no longer be required to hold an air quality permit.  The facilities that qualify account for less than one percent of statewide emissions from factories and businesses. An additional 320 businesses would be required to register with the state but will not need a permit. The new rule does not remove or relax any existing emissions standards.

“My administration is making government more efficient and business-friendly while improving the environment,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “We are giving these businesses relief from unnecessary regulation so they can focus on growing their companies and creating jobs.”

The state environmental department will continue to issue permits, conduct inspections, and collect data on larger sources that account for most air emissions from industrial facilities. The resources that are freed up by reducing paperwork for very small sources of air pollution will be focused on additional inspections and on larger, more environmentally significant sources of emissions.

“Companies like candy, peanut butter, and soap manufacturers aren’t contributing to air pollution in North Carolina,” said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the state environmental department. “By exempting some businesses from air permit requirements, we can dedicate our resources to larger sources of emissions that have a greater impact on the environment.”

Industrial facilities will have to keep and maintain any air pollution control equipment they already have in place and they could be inspected at any time, whether they are exempt from permitting requirements or not.

The rule was passed by the Environmental Management Commission and became effective June 13.

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