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EPA Finalizes Mercury and Air Toxics Startup and Shutdown Provisions; Amends Reporting Provisions

Posted Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

On November 19, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published two final rules: (1) finalizing revisions on reconsideration of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) startup and shutdown (SS) provisions; and (2) temporarily amending reporting requirements to require sources to submit required emissions and compliance reports through the Emissions Collection and Monitoring Plan System (ECMPS) Client Tool and temporarily suspending the use of the Electronic Reporting Tool and the Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI).

EPA’s finalized revisions to the MATS SS provisions essentially maintain the definitions of startup and shutdown included in the original final rule, but also finalize an alternative definition for startup that provides that startup ends four hours after generating electricity or making useful thermal energy.  This does not go as far as EPA previously proposed when it reopened the comment period on its reconsideration proposal in mid-2013, where EPA suggested ending startup at either 25 percent of nameplate capacity plus three hours or the start of electricity generation plus six hours.  In addition, the final rule provides alternative work practice standards for units electing to use the alternative startup definition and modifies the work practice standards for shutdown.  EPA’s final rule also imposes significant additional SS-related monitoring, record keeping, and reporting requirements and includes miscellaneous revisions concerning default values for calculating SS emissions, accounting for SS emissions in common-stack configurations, the use of sorbent traps for mercury monitoring during SS, and handling of syngas in IGCC units during SS.  Sources should consider whether a compliance extension is necessary to comply with these revised requirements.  Extension requests under 40 C.F.R. 63.6(i)(4)(i) for “installation of controls” are due before December 17, 2014.  The rule is effective November 19, 2014.  Petitions for judicial review must be filed by January 20, 2015.
EPA’s amendments to the MATS reporting requirements are the first part of a phased approach to consolidate electronic reporting under the ECMPS Client Tool, rather than requiring data to also be reported using CEDRI.  In the second phase, EPA plans to develop rule revisions that require affected sources to submit required data in “.XML” format (instead of .PDF) using the ECMPS Client Tool. In the event EPA cannot finalize the second phase of revisions by April 16, 2017, the reporting requirements will automatically revert to the requirements set forth in the original MATS final rule.  EPA published its first phase of revisions as a direct final rule and identical proposed rule.  Unless EPA receives adverse comments by December 19, 2014, the direct final rule will take effect on January 5, 2015.  If EPA receives adverse comments, it will withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with the proposed rule.

For additional information, contact Andrew Holway.

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