Overview
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US Regulations

 

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR)

On July 6, 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), limiting the interstate transport of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) that contribute to harmful levels of fine particle matter (PM2.5) and ozone in downwind states. The CSAPR requires 28 states in the eastern United States to reduce SO2, annual NOx and ozone season NOx emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants that affect the ability of downwind states to attain and maintain compliance with the 1997 and 2006 fine particle national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and the 1997 ozone NAAQS.

The CSAPR achieves these reductions through emissions trading programs, with Phase 1 beginning in January 2015 for the annual programs and May 2015 for the ozone season program. Phase 2 begins in January 2017 for the annual programs and May 2017 for the ozone season program. The CSAPR will reduce air quality impacts of fine particle and ozone pollution that crosses state lines and will help downwind areas meet and maintain air quality standards. For more information about the CSAPR and how it works, see the CSAPR Basic Information page.

On September 7, 2016, the EPA revised the CSAPR ozone season NOx emission program by finalizing the CSAPR Update for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

 

Regional Haze Rule

The Regional Haze Rule is part of the Clean Air Act and was finalized in 2005. Under Regional Haze, emission sources within 100 miles of Federal Class 1 areas may be required to reduce emissions that contribute to visibility impairment. While this has many ramifications, the practical effect for Fuel Tech is that many large sources west of the CSAPR affected states have NOx reduction requirements. States are required to submit SIPs to comply with the Regional Haze requirements, and updates are required every five years. The overall obligation of Regional Haze is to return the US scenic areas to “active” visibility by 2064. Sources in CSAPR states that comply with CSAPR requirements will be compliment with Regional Haze.

 

Clean Air Act  

The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) at levels that are protective of public health with an adequate margin of safety. The six pollutants specified include: ozone (O3), Particulate Matter (PM), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Lead, and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

The NAAQS provisions require that states comply with ozone and particulate emissions standards. NOx emissions are a precursor to ozone formation and also contribute to fine particulate emissions (PM2.5), which has been the recent regulatory driver through the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). NOx emissions were targeted as contributors to fine particulate emissions (PM2.5) and ozone emissions.Since 1990, programs have been established by EPA at the regional and federal level to help states in their mission to define and meet their State Implementation Plans (SIPs) for attainment. NAAQS PM standards were issued in 1997, with more stringent standards issued in 2006 and 2012. The NAAQS ozone standards issued in 1997 were made more stringent in 2008. EPA plans to propose a rule on whether and how to revise the 2008 ozone NAAQS in December 2013 and to issue a final rule in September 2014.

 

Consent Decrees

Consent decree activity through the US Department of Justice or EPA may require emission sources to meet individual requirements. Sources may also agree to specific air pollution requirements with states or environmental groups.

 

Past Regulatory Drivers

 

Industrial Boiler MACT  

In December 2011, EPA re-proposed its new emissions rule for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters, known as the Industrial Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard. EPA proposed the Final Rule on January 31, 2013, with compliance scheduled for January 2016. Emissions regulated include acid gas emissions including hydrochloric acid (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), mercury, PM, and dioxins. Click here to review status or visit the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners for more information.

 

Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)

In 2005 EPA promulgated the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to continue to deal with interstate transport of ozone. CAIR also helps states in their efforts to attain compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5 by reducing emissions of its precursors, NOx and SO2. CAIR was designed to accomplish its goals by creating three separate trading programs: an annual NOx program, an ozone season NOx program and annual SO2 program. CAIR’s emission reduction requirements begin in 2009 for the NOx ozone season and annual programs, and 2010 for the SO2 annual program. The CAIR rule was vacated in July 2009, and reinstated in December 2009. The US Court of Appeals instructed the EPA to fix several flaws in the CAIR rule. The root of the problem stems from the regional effect of transported NOx. The Court said EPA did not adequately account for contribution to non-attainment by the CAIR rule trading program. The original CAIR plan was reinstated in December 2008, and remained in place until July 2011, when it was replaced with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). CAIR was re-instated in December 2011 and will remain in effect until the future of CSAPR is resolved.

 

NOx SIP Call  

In 1998, the U.S. EPA finalized the NOx SIP Call which concluded that NOx emissions in twenty-two states and the District of Columbia contributed to ozone nonattainment in other states due to transport. EPA's SIP call directed those states to reduce their emissions and offered the states the opportunity to participate in a trading program that reduced NOx to the aggregate equivalent of 0.15 lb/MMBtu. The size of the trading region increased to cover 20 states and the District of Columbia. Compliance dates varied by state with the last states joining the NBP in 2007.