At the end of last week, EPA Region 6 released a proposal that would require Oklahoma to revise its state air quality regulations regarding startup, shutdown, and malfunction events, referred to as “SSM.” The proposal is noteworthy because it comes just a few weeks before EPA has promised to finalize a similar proposal that applies to 36 states, including Oklahoma.
The new Oklahoma proposal, like EPA’s 36-state proposal issued back in February, would eliminate state authority to allow excess emissions during the startup of a facility, even though compliance with existing emission limits may be impossible (likely because the limits were originally set based on normal, steady state operations). EPA’s repeated citation to its 36-state proposal suggests that EPA has not considered changing its mind on the new SSM policy it announced earlier in the year, in spite of the many comments it has received challenging EPA’s authority for the action – including those submitted by most of the affected state environmental agencies themselves.
A copy of the Oklahoma proposal is available here – Oklahoma SSM Proposal – and a copy of EPA’s February 2013 proposal for 36 states is available here – EPA’s SSM SIP Call Proposal. Stay tuned for the issuance of EPA’s Final Rule for 36 states, which EPA is expected to sign September 26, 2013.