U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
What's the latest activity around Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (SSM)?
January 4, 2021
In 2019 and 2020, we saw a series of regional activities around SSM, including a final action here in EPA Region IV that withdrew the SSM State Implementation Plan (SIP) call for North Carolina. EPA also withdrew the SSM SIP calls in Texas and Iowa and published guidance in October 2020 that outlines whether and when a state can include certain provisions governing SSM in its SIP that are protective of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The recent SSM activities are currently in litigation, as environmental groups continue to believe that EPA is improperly allowing states to have exemptions for compliance with standards during periods of SSM. The recent Unified Agenda includes further regulatory activity around SSM. U.S. EPA is scheduled to publish a proposal and a direct final rule that amends various subparts in 40 CFR Part 63 (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants – NESHAP) to remove references to the SSM exemptions in the Part 63 general provisions that were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The 2008 decision vacated 40 CFR 63.6(f)(1) and 63.6(h)(1) and held that emission standards must be continuous and that the SSM exemption provisions were not legal. The upcoming regulatory action will remove any references to those provisions in the various NESHAP (e.g., within a certain rule provision and/or within the table that states what sections of the general provisions apply to each rule).
Some agency rule writers have been reaching out to specific industry associations as they are finalizing these regulatory revisions. U.S. EPA has been removing SSM exemptions from various NESHAP as it has been performing its risk and technology reviews (RTR), so this action is likely intended to be their final clean-up of the Part 63 rules with respect to the SSM exemption.
Location: Raleigh, NC Office
EPA State Implementation Plan Guidance
Guidance Memorandum: Inclusion of provisions governing periods of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunctions in State Implementation Plans
Summary of Anticipated EPA Action to Amend Clean Air Act Regulations
U.S. Office of Management and Budget Unified Agenda Notice