EPA Proposes Major Overhaul of SSM Policy and Removal of Key Exemptions in 36 SIPs

    View Author April 2013
    Provisions states have been using for startups, shutdowns and malfunctions for more than 40 years will be found inconsistent with the Clean Air Act if a rule recently proposed by US EPA is finalized. States impose strict numeric emission limits on major sources during periods of normal operation. The majority of state implementation plans (SIPs) contain additional provisions that allow sources to exceed those strict limits during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction, when control equipment cannot be operated effectively and emissions are too unpredictable to meet a fixed limit. The proposed rule purports to clarify and correct EPA’s long-standing policy regarding the control of emissions during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM Policy), but would effectively eliminate key exemptions and affirmative defenses relied upon by many sources to ensure compliance with their permits and a major overhaul of many SIPs.