The Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources are codified under 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 60, and are typically referred to as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). The NSPS program was established in the 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA) as a way for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to control emissions from new facilities in order to achieve and maintain compliance with the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). Authorization for U.S. EPA to establish technology-based standards for the NSPS is found in Section 111 of the CAA.
NSPS apply to new, modified, and/or reconstructed affected facilities in a wide range of source categories, including manufacturers of glass, cement, rubber tires, pulp and paper, and wool fiberglass. Section 111 of the CAA requires that U.S. EPA assess the need to promulgate standards for sources that emit pollutants that endanger the public’s health or welfare. For example, in 2015 an NSPS for greenhouse gases (GHGs) was established based on the Supreme Court determination that GHGs endanger the public’s welfare. U.S. EPA must also review and, if appropriate, revise each NSPS every eight years. While the NSPS are developed and implemented by U.S. EPA, implementation and enforcement of the NSPS is often delegated to the states. Most states adopt the NSPS in their entirety by reference in their state rules.
Only facilities that are new or become “new” via a modification or reconstruction are subject to the NSPS. However, in certain circumstances, U.S. EPA may need to develop regulations similar to NSPS for existing facilities. The “existing source NSPS” are called Emission Guidelines. U.S. EPA can only promulgate Emission Guidelines for pollutants that do not have an established NAAQS and that are not regulated by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Parts 61 and 63. Examples of pollutants without a NAAQS or NESHAP are GHGs and total reduced sulfur (TRS). States are supposed to develop their own Emission Guidelines following a blueprint promulgated by U.S. EPA so long as the State’s rule, or “State Plan,” is no less stringent than the Emission Guideline blueprint. If the State Plan is not approved by U.S. EPA, or if a state chooses not to develop their own State Plan, U.S. EPA will develop a Federal Plan that will apply to the affected facility in the respective state.
Determining whether a facility is a new, modified, and/or reconstructed affected facility requires an evaluation of the regulatory definitions of terms such as “commenced,” “construction,” “modification,” and “reconstruction,” among others. These terms are defined in the NSPS General Provisions at 40 CFR §§60.2, 60.14, and 60.15. These terms introduce evaluations of physical and operational changes, short-term emissions increases, and capital costs, among other considerations. If a facility undergoes a modification as defined in the General Provisions, it may become a new source and be subject to an NSPS.
The appendices of 40 CFR Part 60 contain relevant information, such as emissions test methods and performance specifications. These appendices are also referenced by other regulatory programs, such as the NESHAPs.
ALL4’s Air Quality 101 (AQ101) Training is a 12-session, webinar-based course covering the Clean Air Act and its various regulatory programs. Originally designed to educate environmental consultants as they joined the ALL4 team, it was requested by clients to further their understanding of compliance and permitting at their facilities. ALL4 has trained environmental professionals of the regulated community throughout the country and expanded their knowledge of regulatory programs that impact industrial operations.
About the Author
Lindsey Kroos is a Technical Manager at ALL4 with 15 years of experience in air quality consulting, including permitting and compliance for clients in various industries such as pulp and paper, waste combustion, and manufacturing. Lindsey is passionate about learning and sharing air quality technical knowledge, and is the primary instructor for ALL4’s AQ101 training program.
ALL4 is an environmental consulting company and currently employs over 85 professionals with a diverse background of experience, including the consulting, industry, and regulatory arenas. ALL4 works on a corporate level with many Fortune 500 companies across the nation in a variety of industries, including pulp and paper, consumer goods, chemicals, food manufacturing, energy, and pharmaceutical.