RMB to Host CEMS e-Conference on May 28-29 (4/27/20)
RMB is hosting a FREE web-based CEMS conference on May 28-29 (two half-day sessions) to provide a platform for information exchange related to monitoring,  testing, and reporting of emissions from electric utility units.  The conference agenda will include presentations from EPA, EPRI, NIST, RMB, and various equipment vendors.  The conference will include a panel session with software vendors and well as utility participants to discuss their plans to address the upcoming planned ECMPS and MATS related changes.

 

For logistical reasons, reservations are now closed for joining the conference using Zoom.  However, we will also live stream the e-Conference on YouTube.  A link for the  YouTube live stream will be posted here at around 11:00am (Eastern) each morning of the e-Conference.


EPA Issues Part 75 CEMS QA Provisions for COVID-19 Emergency (4/17/20)

On April 17, 2020, the EPA Administrator signed an interim final revisions to Part 75 to allow sources that are unable perform CEMS QA activities or fuel analysis due to COVID-19 related travel or safety restrictions to continue report valid measurement data rather than having to report substitute data after the normal QA test deadline.  As an interim final rule, the provisions will go into effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register and will potentially cover data reported since the declaration of the national emergency on March 13, 2020 extending until 180 days after promulgation or the end of the national emergency declaration (by the president or congress) plus an additional 60 days, whichever comes first.  The temporary rule revisions will apply to quality-assurance tests, certification or recertification tests, appendix D fuel analyses, and appendix E and LME NOx emission rate tests. 


To use the provisions, sources will need to notify the Agency within five days of failing to meet the required QA test deadline.  Among other information, the notification must document the reason for failure to complete each QA test (or fuel analysis, appendix E or LME NOx emission rate test) is related to “travel, plant access, or other safety restrictions implemented to address the COVID-19 national emergency.”  Any test must then be “completed as soon as practicable” upon the end of such restrictions, and the source must provide a subsequent notification to the Agency of completion within five days after performing the applicable tests.  A copy of the final rule can found in our FTP library.


 
EPA Publishes Proposed MATS Electronic Reporting Rule in Federal Register (4/10/20)
In today's Federal Register, dated April 10, 2020 (Volume 85, No. 70 - 37 total pages), EPA has published proposed changes to the MATS electronic reporting rule.  Included in the proposal is an extension of the PDF Submit function for certain MATS related activities through December 2023.  A copy of the final rule can found in our FTP library.

 
EPA Publishes Enforcement Discretion Policy for COVID-19 (3/27/20)
A news release from EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) indicates the Agency has put in place a policy to use "Enforcement Discretion" during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is important to note this action does not relieve utilities (nor other source categories) from their regulatory obligations.  Click here for a link to the announcement.  A copy of the enforcement discretion memo can found in our FTP library.

      • On April 16, 2020, environmental groups (led by the Natural Resources Defense Council) filed suit against EPA regarding this policy.  A copy of the complaint filed can be downloaded by clicking here.

 
CT MACT RTR Published in Federal Register (3/09/20)
In today's Federal Register, dated March 9, 2020 (Volume 85, No. 46 - 23 total pages), EPA has published the final version of the CT MACT RTR.  The final rule includes requirements to address periods of SU/SD and adds some electronic reporting requirements. However, it does NOT finalize the proposed removal of the administrative stay of the effectiveness of the standards for new CTs, since EPA has indicated that they need more time to review and respond to comments regarding the lifting of the stay.  A copy of the final rule can found in our FTP library.


EPA Finalizes CT MACT RTR (2/20/20)
On January 31, 2020, EPA signed a final rule titled, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Stationary Combustion Turbines Residual Risk and Technology Review.”  This rule finalizes EPA’s residual risk and technology review (RTR) conducted for the Stationary Combustion Turbines source category regulated under national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP).  Note: the final rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register. Once posted, RMB will post a notice.

In addition, the final rule includes requirements to address periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) and adds electronic reporting requirements.  EPA is finalizing its proposed determination that the risks from this source category due to emissions of air toxics are acceptable and that the existing NESHAP provides an ample margin of safety to protect public health.  EPA is also finalizing its proposed determination that the Agency identified no new cost-effective controls under the technology review that would achieve further emissions reductions from the source category.

In a significant departure from the proposed RTR rule, EPA decided to not finalize the proposed removal of the administrative stay of the effectiveness of the standards for new combustion turbines.  In the preamble to the final rule, EPA explains that the Agency needs additional time to review and respond to comments regarding the lifting of the stay.  EPA believes the Agency is also justified in not lifting the stay in order to make a determination regarding the petition that was submitted in August 2019, which requests that EPA delist the Stationary Combustion Turbine source category pursuant to § 112(c)(9) of the Clean Air Act.  A copy of the signed final rule can found in our FTP library.


Update on EPA Power Sector Rules (1/23/19)
EPA provided an update on the various rulemaking efforts affecting the electric utility industry at the recent AWMA Information Exchange held in Research Triangle Park, NC on December 3 and 4, 2019.  While the Agency provided little additional detail regarding the pending rules, it did provide a summary of the publicly available drafts and discussed the tentative schedule for some of these rulemaking activities.

 

Regulation

Status

Expected Date

Combustion Turbine MACT RTR

Final

by March 13, 2020 (possibly January 2020)

MATS e-Reporting Rule

Proposal

“First Quarter 2020” a

MATS RTR and Supplemental Cost Finding Rule

Final

"By 2020" b 

GHG NSPS for New EGUs

Final

March 2020

RICE MACT RTR

Proposal

End of 2020

Boiler MACT RTR

Proposal

End of 2020

MATS Technical Corrections

Proposal

First Quarter 2021

a Although possibly June 2020 based on EPA’s regulatory agenda and discussion with other Agency personnel

b Rulemaking package is currently at OMB and action is expected within the next few months

Finalization of the CT MACT RTR is perhaps one of the more significant of the pending rulemakings.  EPA concluded that risks are acceptable under the existing rule and that no new cost-effective controls are available, thus the standards will remain unchanged.  However, EPA’s proposed action would remove the current stay of the emissions standards for lean premix gas-fired turbines and diffusion flame gas-fired turbines, which has been in place since 2004.  While there was initially a three-year compliance window associated with the rule, that time period has expired.  Thus, any applicable turbine (installed or reconstructed at a major source after 1/14/2003) would be immediately be required to demonstrate compliance with the formaldehyde standard of 91 ppbd@15% O2.  EPA stated that they are aware of the impact of removing the remand on existing CTs and that they "see a need" for some additional time to demonstrate compliance.  It’s possible that the final rule will include a provision for extending the amount of time for compliance demonstration and possibly allow sources to file an extension if oxidation catalyst is required to meet the new limits.


The MATS Risk and Technology Review (RTR) and Supplemental Cost Finding Rule is another significant rulemaking package that is expected to be finalized soon.  Based on a SCOTUS decision, EPA revised the cost analysis for MATS to reflect HAPS only and found the costs were significantly reduced such that the rule no longer met "appropriate and necessary" requirement in Section 112.  Despite this revised conclusion, EPA is not proposing to repeal the MATS Rule, stating that the revised appropriate and necessary finding does not automatically delist EGUs from the Section 112(c) and EPA has elected not to formally pursue the delisting option available under Section 112(c)(9) although it did request comments on several issues related to that decision.  Included in the rulemaking package was the MATS RTR, which concluded that no changes to the emission standards were necessary.



States Begin ACE Plan Development (1/23/20)
Some state agencies appear to be getting an early start on their ACE compliance plans, which must be completed by July 8, 2022.  RMB has recently received a few inquiries from electric utilities in various states (e.g. Missouri, Nebraska, and Arizona) regarding data requests from their respective state agencies for conducting unit-specific heat rate improvement analyses for each state's ACE plan development.  These requests focus on background information on the existing ACE candidate technologies and various operating data, including fuel usage, generation, CO2 emissions, and heat rate data, as well as future plans for the facility.

We believe that states will generally lack the information or expertise to develop meaningful ACE Rule emissions limits for each unit based on the specific.  Ultimately, sources will be required to provide their own assessment of heat rate improvement resulting from implementation of one or more of the candidate technologies specified in the rule and to evaluate of the baseline CO2 emissions rates and the uncertainty associated with that data as well as important details regarding averaging times and how those averages will be calculated--all critical given the lack of guidance from EPA regarding any of these issues.
If you received an ACE Rule data request from your state agency please contact RMB, so we can track these activities and discuss any questions you may have about the rule.


EPA Proposes Latest Round of Test Method Revisions (12/13/19)
In today's Federal Register, dated December 13, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 240 - 29 total pages), EPA has proposed yet another round of changes to various reference test methods and CEMS performance specifications.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library.


EGU MATS HCl Quarterly Testing News - Audit Sample Program (12/13/18)
Earlier this summer, EPA posted a notice regarding a lack of providers for audit samples as part the audit sample program under 40 CFR Parts 60 and 63.  As a reminder, use of audit samples are required if the audit samples are "commercially available" from two or more independent accredited audit sample providers (AASP).  Since there are no longer two providers, the requirement to obtain these audit samples is no longer in effect until another independent AASP has audit samples for purchase.   What does this mean in practice for many is EGU MATS affected sources?  Those sources performing quarterly stack testing for HCl no longer need to acquire blind audit samples for quarterly performance tests (e.g sources using Reference Method 26A for HCl stack testing).  Finally, EPA has stated that they will post an update with the name(s) of the providers and audit sample(s) available for purchase when there are two or more AASP.  Once that post occurs, the audit sample program will go back into effect 60 days after the post has been mad.

Follow this link for the actual notice: EPA Notice - Audit Sample Program


EPA Finalizes ACE Rule and Clean Power Plan Repeal (7/8/19)
In today's Federal Register, dated July 8, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 130 - 65 total pages), EPA has finalized the Affordable Clean Energy rule ("ACE Rule") and formally repealed the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  A copy of the final rule can found in our FTP library.


Update on EPA's Combustion Turbine NESHAP (4/12/19)
On April 12, 2019, EPA published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Stationary Combustion Turbines Residual Risk and Technology Review.”  EPA initially issued its NESHAP rule for Stationary Combustion Turbines on March 5, 2004.  The rule applies to stationary combustion turbines located at major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP).  The NESHAP requires new or reconstructed stationary combustion turbines to meet a formaldehyde limit of 91 parts per billion by volume, dry basis at 15 percent oxygen.  However, EPA stayed the effectiveness of the rule on August 18, 2004.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library

Following a residual risk and technology review conducted pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is proposing to determine that risks from the source category are acceptable and that no new cost-effective controls are available.  In the proposed rule, EPA is also:


  • Revising the requirements for periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) to be consistent with recent court decisions;
  • Requiring electronic reporting of performance test results and compliance reports; and
  • Lifting the stay of the standards for new gas-fired stationary combustion turbines, which has been in effect since August 2004.


EPA Proposes Reconsideration of Supplemental MATS Finding (2/7/19)
OIn today's Federal Register, dated February 7, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 26 - 35 total pages), EPA has proposed their reconsideration of supplemental finding and residual risk and technology review of the MATS rule.  At this time it's unclear what the ultimate outcome of this new finding would mean for the industry.  Comments are due by April 8, 2019.   There will also be a public hearing concerning this proposed rule.  The time and location of the public hearing will be announced in a subsequent Federal Register notice.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library.