NACAA Comments on EPA’s Title V Petitions Process Proposal

October 24, 2016 – NACAA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed rule, Revisions to the Petition Provisions of the Title V Permitting Program, 81 Fed. Reg. 57,822 (Aug. 24, 2016).  The proposal is intended to increase stakeholder access and understanding of the process by which citizens may object to Title V operating permits and to facilitate EPA’s review of proposed permits and petitions.   NACAA’s comments focused on proposed amendments that would establish new procedures that state and local permitting authorities must follow in responding to public comments on draft Title V permits, developing the administrative record for permits and submitting proposed permits to EPA.  NACAA opposed EPA’s proposal to require permitting authorities to provide public notice when they submit proposed permits to EPA for the agency’s 45-day review period.  Requiring state and local agencies to publish what amounts to a second public notice for every Title V permit would go beyond what is required by the Clean Air Act and would be unduly burdensome for agencies that are struggling with limited resources, NACAA stated.  In NACAA’s view, EPA should bear responsibility for notifying the public of the review and objection process, as these are not state or local agency functions and the review period starts upon EPA’s receipt of a proposed permit, not upon transmittal.  NACAA supported EPA’s proposal to require permitting authorities to respond to significant public comments on draft permits, but it emphasized that any regulatory changes must continue to accommodate “concurrent” public and EPA review of draft permits (where the 30-day public comment period and EPA’s 45-day review period run simultaneously, so long as there are no significant public comments).  NACAA pointed out areas where the proposed regulatory language should be clarified on this topic.  Finally, NACAA also asked EPA to clarify proposed rule language related to permit statements of bases.