On February 5, 2020, EPA issued a final rule revising the petition provisions of the Title V permitting program. Under the CAA Title V program, permitting authorities must submit proposed Title V permits to the EPA administrator for a 45-day review before issuing the final permit. If the administrator has no objections within this period, any person may petition the administrator within 60 days thereafter to ask EPA to object to the permit.

The rule revises the submission requirements, the content, format of petitions, and record requirements for proposed permits submitted for EPA’s review. Specific to requirements related to the submission of petitions, EPA encourages petitioners to use an electronic submittal system, and the rule has a link to information on how to properly access and use the system. In addition to electronic submittals, petitioners will have two additional options for submitting petitions. First, petitioners will be able to submit Title V petitions using the email address on the Title V petitions website when experiencing technical difficulties with the electronic system. Alternatively, petitioners without internet access will have the option of submitting paper petitions to a physical address. The regulation also specifically requires petitioners to provide copies of the petition to the permitting authority and the permit applicant.

Furthermore, the rule specifies the content and format for Title V petitions. In particular, the rule requires a petition to contain the following elements: (1) the identification of the proposed permit on which the petition is based; (2) the grounds for an objection, such as a failure to meet all applicable requirements under the CAA or a failure to follow required public participation procedures; and (3) an indication of whether the issue was raised during the public participation process. Importantly, petitioners will be prohibited from incorporating other documents by reference unless the reference provides a specific citation to an attachment and an explanation of how the referenced material supports a claim discussed in the petition.

The rule also requires permitting authorities to respond to significant comments received during the public participation process for draft Title V permits and to provide a response to comments document, a statement of basis, and the proposed Title V permit to the administrator during the 45-day review period. Should a timely petition be filed within the proceeding 60-day period, the administration may consider the administrative record for the proposed permit and the petition. The effective date of the rule is April 6, 2020.