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EPA Proposes No Changes to Emergency RICE Provisions Following Reconsideration

Posted Monday, August 25th, 2014

On August 15, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published final agency action denying several petitions that requested EPA reconsider and revise certain provisions for emergency stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) in 40 C.F.R. 63, subpart ZZZZ, and 40 C.F.R. 60, subpart IIII.  In particular, the petitions requested an earlier compliance deadline for the use of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD), more detailed reporting requirements, application of the reporting requirements earlier, and more distinct criteria regarding the conditions under which emergency RICE may operate to prevent voltage collapse or line overloads.

In declining to revise the current regulations, EPA first determined that the current January 1, 2015, compliance deadline for the use of ULSD is appropriate, and explained that an earlier deadline would lead to undesirable results from an environmental and economic perspective as it would force some facilities to either dispose of non-ULSD fuel or increase operation of their engines in an effort to use up their existing supply.

Next, EPA determined that the current requirement that the initial reporting period begin in 2015 with reports due in March 2016 is appropriate, and explained that beginning the initial reporting period immediately, as requested, would not give facilities sufficient notice and would not give EPA sufficient time to develop its electronic reporting tool.  EPA further concluded that requiring facilities to report the type and amount of diesel fuel used, as was also requested, would be unreasonably burdensome.

Finally, EPA determined that the current criteria regarding when emergency RICE may operate to prevent voltage collapse or line overloads are appropriate, and explained that attempting to specify more detailed criteria would be counterproductive given the varied circumstances that necessitate such operation.

EPA’s response to the petitions for reconsideration can be found here.  Petitions for review of EPA’s response must be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by October 14, 2014.

For additional information, contact Andrew Holway.

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