April 2006

Ethanol consistency sought

EPA is proposing to apply the same air permitting requirements for facilities that produce ethanol for fuel or human consumption. Ethanol, a clean-burning renewable fuel, can be used to meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard Program, which is designed to reduce dependence on foreign oil by doubling the use of vehicle fuels from American crops by 2012.

Ethanol is produced at corn milling facilities for use as fuel or human consumption. While the processes are similar, these facilities are currently treated differently under Clean Air Act permitting programs. EPA’s proposal would provide equal treatment for corn milling facilities, regardless of whether they produce ethanol for fuel or human consumption.

Currently, corn milling facilities that produce fuel and emit less than 100 tons per year of air pollutants are not subject to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program. Conversely, corn milling facilities that produce products for human consumption do not trigger PSD until they emit more than 250 tons per year.

The proposal would establish the same emissions limits under the PSD program – 250 tons per year – regardless of whether the ethanol end product is used for fuel or human consumption. The thresholds for the New Source Review and Title V permitting programs would remain at current levels, which vary from 10 to 100 tons per year depending on the area in which the facility is located.

EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

For more information about PSD and this regulation proposal, visit www.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html.

 


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