Auto salvage yards permanently exempted
from federal operating permit requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently
issued a final ruling permanently exempting auto salvage yards
from having to obtain a Title V (federal operating) permit.
The purpose of the Title V permit is to reduce
violations of air pollution laws and to improve enforcement
of those laws. Operating permits outline all air pollution requirements
that apply to specific facilities and require those facilities
to make regular reports on how they track and control emissions
and also require the facilities to certify each year whether
the have met their air pollution requirements.
The final ruling prohibits states from issuing
federal operating permits to “area sources” once
the Agency has exempted them from the national permitting program.
States may continue to issue other types of air permits for
such sources, such as state operating permits. “Area sources”
are small facilities that emit less than 10 tons per year of
a single toxic air pollutant or fewer than 25 tons of a combination
of such pollutants. Small sources that are secondary lead smelters
are still required to obtain a federal operating permit.
In order to exempt a category of “area
sources” from operating permitting requirements, the Clean
Air Act requires EPA to determine that complying with the requirements
is “impracticable, infeasible, or unnecessarily burdensome”
for the area source. Based on that criterion, the EPA has determined
that all “area sources,” except secondary lead area
sources, should be exempted. However, area sources are still
required to monitor emissions and complete sworn statements
demonstrating they are in compliance. Those statements are to
be available to the public on request.
The EPA ruling does not alter the requirements
governing the control of emissions of toxic air pollutants that
apply to these facilities. It removes the impracticable and
costly process of obtaining an operating permit.