Public hearing scheduled on proposed changes to air permit rules

Raleigh

RALEIGH – People will have an opportunity to comment on a proposal to exempt small sources from air permitting requirements at a public hearing that state environmental officials have scheduled for early November in Raleigh.

The state Environmental Management Commission has scheduled the hearing for 6 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Ground Floor Hearing Room of the Archdale Building, 512 North Salisbury St., Raleigh. People will have opportunities to speak at the hearing and can submit written comments until Nov. 30.

Written comments can be sent by email to daq.publiccomments@ncdenr.gov or mailed to: Joelle Burleson, Division of Air Quality, 1641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-1641.

The state Division of Air Quality and the Department of Environmental Quality have proposed the rule change as a way to improve government efficiency and reduce regulatory burdens and costs for small sources of air emissions. The proposal would allow the DAQ to devote more resources to larger sources of air emissions that can have more significant effects on public health and the environment.

If approved by the EMC, the changes would provide regulatory relief to more than 1,400 small facilities that have relatively low emissions of air pollutants, without harming air quality. These changes would save businesses an estimated $768,225 per year in permit fees and associated costs.

Key elements of the proposal would exempt about 1,200 small sources of air emissions from permitting requirements, establish a less burdensome registration process for another 240 small sources, and streamline the process for approving minor changes to pollution control equipment at all permitted sources.

State and federal air quality rules would still apply to facilities that become exempt from permitting, and the DAQ would develop a plan to ensure that these small emitters continue to comply with the rules. Additionally, the DAQ could require any exempt facility to have a permit if it determines that one is needed to ensure compliance with air quality rules.

Although small sources account for nearly 63 percent of permitted facilities, they contribute only 3.4 percent of the total emissions of major or criteria air pollutants from point sources. Small sources that would qualify for permit exemptions contribute about 0.6 percent of criteria pollutant emissions.

More information about the proposed air permitting changes can be found in the rules section of the DAQ website.

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