A Guide to the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Requirements, Process, and Compliance

The Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit is a crucial tool for managing and regulating air pollution from major stationary sources, and understanding its requirements is essential for ensuring compliance and avoiding costly penalties. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of the Title V permit program, providing a clear and accessible overview of the regulatory framework, application process, and compliance obligations. Readers will learn how to determine if a facility is subject to Title V permitting, understand the key components of a permit application, and navigate the complex world of emissions monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting. The guide also explores recent regulatory changes and updates, ensuring that readers have the most up-to-date information needed to effectively manage their Title V compliance responsibilities. With a focus on practical guidance and real-world examples, this resource is an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to master the Title V permit program and promote cleaner, healthier air for all.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Title V Operating Permit Key Details

Issuing Agency: The Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit is issued by state and local permitting authorities, with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Year Established: The Title V permit program was established in 1990 as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments.

Legal References: The legal authority for the Title V permit program is found in Title V of the Clean Air Act, which is codified in Sections 7661-7661f of Title 42 of the United States Code.

Date Last Amended: The Clean Air Act was last amended in 1990, which included the addition of the Title V permit program.

Permit Validity: Title V permits are typically valid for five years, after which they must be renewed.

Clean Air Act Sections 501-507 Title V Operating Permit Overview

The Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit is a critical component of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to protect and improve air quality across the nation. Established as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Title V permit program is designed to ensure that major sources of air pollution, such as power plants, factories, and refineries, comply with all applicable air quality regulations and standards.

Under the Title V program, state and local permitting authorities issue operating permits to major sources of air pollution, with oversight from the EPA. These permits consolidate all of a facility's air pollution control requirements into a single document, making it easier for facilities to understand and comply with their obligations, and for regulators to enforce them.

The Title V permit program has played a crucial role in reducing air pollution and protecting public health since its inception. By requiring major sources of air pollution to obtain operating permits and comply with all applicable regulations, the program has helped to drive significant reductions in emissions of harmful pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.

Over time, the Title V permit program has evolved to keep pace with advancements in air pollution control technology and changes in air quality regulations. Today, the program remains a cornerstone of the EPA's efforts to protect and improve air quality, ensuring that major sources of air pollution operate in a way that is consistent with the Clean Air Act and protective of public health and the environment.

Which Resources Are Regulated By Title V Operating Permit?

The Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit is specifically designed to regulate air quality and protect the public from harmful air pollutants. The permit program applies to major sources of air pollution, which are defined as facilities that emit or have the potential to emit:

  1. 10 tons per year or more of any hazardous air pollutant (HAP) listed under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act;
  2. 25 tons per year or more of any combination of HAPs; or
  3. 100 tons per year or more of any air pollutant.

These air pollutants include, but are not limited to:

  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Greenhouse gases (GHGs)

By requiring major sources of these pollutants to obtain Title V permits and comply with all applicable air quality regulations and standards, the permit program helps to reduce emissions and protect public health and the environment from the harmful effects of air pollution. The permit also ensures that facilities are using the best available control technologies to minimize their emissions, and that they are monitoring and reporting their emissions as required by law.

PROJECT APPLICABILITY & REQUIREMENTS

When Title V Operating Permits Are Required

The Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit is required for major sources of air pollution, which are facilities that emit or have the potential to emit certain quantities of regulated air pollutants. The following table outlines the types of facilities and emission thresholds that trigger the need for a Title V permit:

Facility TypeEmission ThresholdEnvironmental Considerations
Any facility that emits or has the potential to emit 10 tons per year or more of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) listed under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act110 tons per year of any single HAPHAPs are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental effects2
Any facility that emits or has the potential to emit 25 tons per year or more of any combination of HAPs325 tons per year of any combination of HAPsExposure to multiple HAPs may have cumulative or synergistic effects on human health and the environment
Any facility that emits or has the potential to emit 100 tons per year or more of any air pollutant4100 tons per year of any air pollutantCriteria air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, can cause a range of adverse health effects and environmental impacts, including respiratory illness, acid rain, and visibility impairment

In addition to these emission thresholds, certain categories of sources, such as petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing plants, and fossil fuel-fired power plants, are also subject to Title V permitting requirements regardless of their emission levels.5

Title V Operating Permit Exemptions

While the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit program applies to most major sources of air pollution, certain activities and facilities are exempt from the permit requirements. These exemptions are designed to reduce the regulatory burden on smaller sources that pose less significant environmental risks.

The following activities and facilities are exempt from Title V permitting requirements:

  1. Nonmajor sources: Facilities that emit or have the potential to emit less than the major source thresholds for all regulated air pollutants are not required to obtain a Title V permit.6

  2. Emergency generators: Backup generators that are used solely to provide power during emergencies and operate for less than 500 hours per year are exempt from Title V permitting requirements.7

  3. Certain agricultural operations: Agricultural operations that are not subject to New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) or National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) are exempt from Title V permitting requirements.8

  4. Research and development activities: Research and development activities that are not engaged in the manufacture of products for commercial sale are exempt from Title V permitting requirements, unless they are subject to certain NSPS or NESHAP regulations.9

To determine if a project qualifies for an exemption, facilities should carefully evaluate their emissions and compare them to the major source thresholds, as well as review the specific criteria for each exemption. It is recommended that facilities consult with their state or local permitting authority to confirm the applicability of any exemptions and to ensure compliance with all relevant air quality regulations.

PERMIT APPLICATION & PROCESS

Title V Operating Permit Pre-Application Considerations & Planning

Diagram of Title V Operating Permit Pre-Application Considerations & Planning
Diagram of Title V Operating Permit Pre-Application Considerations & Planning

The Title V Operating Permit process typically involves several key phases and milestones, from project conception to completion. At the outset of a project, facilities must determine whether their operations will be subject to Title V permitting requirements based on their potential emissions of regulated air pollutants.

If a facility determines that it will be subject to Title V permitting, it is highly recommended to schedule a pre-application meeting with the permitting authority to discuss the project, identify applicable requirements, and clarify any questions or concerns.

Following the pre-application meeting, the facility will prepare and submit the permit application, which must include all required forms, documentation, and supporting materials. The permitting authority will then review the application for completeness and technical adequacy, a process that typically takes several months to a year or more depending on the complexity of the project.

Throughout the permit review process, there will be opportunities for public participation and comment, which can influence the final permit decision. Once the permit is issued, the facility must comply with all permit conditions and requirements, including monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting obligations.

The Title V permitting process can have significant implications for a project's overall timeline and key decisions. Facilities must carefully plan and budget for the time and resources required to obtain a Title V permit, which can take several years from conception to issuance. It is critical to initiate the permitting process as early as possible in the project lifecycle to avoid delays and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

Project TimelinePermit Touchpoints
Project ConceptionDetermine Title V Applicability
Feasibility Studies and Site SelectionPre-Application Meeting with Permitting Authority
Preliminary Design and EngineeringPrepare and Submit Title V Permit Application
Detailed Design and EngineeringPermit Application Review and Revision
Procurement and ContractingDraft Permit Public Comment Period
Construction and CommissioningFinal Permit Issuance
Operations and MaintenanceOngoing Compliance with Permit Conditions

Title V Operating Permit Application Requirements & Submission

A complete Title V Operating Permit application must include several key components and supporting documents to demonstrate that the facility will comply with all applicable air quality regulations and standards. The specific requirements may vary depending on the permitting authority and the nature of the facility, but generally include the following:

  1. Facility identification and description: The application must include the facility's name, location, owner and operator information, and a detailed description of the processes and equipment that will be subject to the permit.

  2. Emissions inventory: The application must include a comprehensive inventory of all regulated air pollutants that the facility will emit, including the source of each pollutant, the quantity emitted, and the basis for the emissions estimates.

  3. Applicable requirements: The application must identify all applicable federal, state, and local air quality regulations and standards that apply to the facility, and demonstrate how the facility will comply with each requirement.

  4. Compliance plan: The application must include a detailed plan for how the facility will comply with all applicable requirements, including monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting, and testing procedures.

  5. Control technology assessment: For facilities that will be subject to Best Available Control Technology (BACT) or Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAER) requirements, the application must include an assessment of available control technologies and a justification for the selected approach.

  6. Air quality impact analysis: Depending on the magnitude and location of the facility's emissions, the application may need to include an analysis of the potential impacts on local air quality, including dispersion modeling and risk assessment.

  7. Compliance certification: The application must include a certification by a responsible official that the information contained in the application is true, accurate, and complete, and that the facility will comply with all applicable requirements.

The permit application serves as the primary basis for the permitting authority's review and decision-making process. A complete and well-prepared application can help to expedite the review process and ensure that the facility receives a permit that is both protective of air quality and feasible to implement.

The Title V Operating Permit Review & Decision Process

The ideal timing for initiating the Title V Operating Permit process will depend on the specific circumstances of the project, but in general, it is recommended to begin as early as possible in the project lifecycle. Facilities should aim to submit their permit application at least one year before the planned start of construction or operation, to allow sufficient time for the permitting authority's review and decision-making process.

The key steps in the Title V permit review and decision process include:

  1. Pre-application meeting: As discussed earlier, facilities are encouraged to schedule a pre-application meeting with the permitting authority to discuss the project and identify applicable requirements.

  2. Application submittal: The facility submits a complete permit application to the permitting authority, including all required forms, documents, and supporting materials.

  3. Completeness review: The permitting authority reviews the application for completeness and may request additional information if necessary. This review typically takes up to 60 days.

  4. Technical review: Once the application is deemed complete, the permitting authority conducts a detailed technical review to determine whether the facility will comply with all applicable requirements. This review may involve requests for additional information or clarification from the facility, and can take several months to a year or more depending on the complexity of the project.

  5. Draft permit and public comment: If the permitting authority determines that the facility will comply with all applicable requirements, it will issue a draft permit for public review and comment. The draft permit is typically subject to a 30-day public comment period, during which interested parties may submit written comments or request a public hearing.

  6. Final permit decision: After considering all public comments and making any necessary revisions, the permitting authority will issue a final permit decision. If the permit is approved, it will include all applicable requirements, conditions, and compliance obligations.

The key criteria for permit approval include demonstrating compliance with all applicable air quality regulations and standards, as well as satisfying all procedural and administrative requirements of the permitting process. Facilities that fail to meet these criteria may be subject to permit denials, delays, or additional requirements.

Title V Operating Permit Public Participation & Stakeholder Engagement

Public participation is an essential component of the Title V Operating Permit process, providing an opportunity for interested parties to review and comment on draft permits and ensuring that permitting decisions are transparent and accountable to the public.

The primary mechanism for public participation in the Title V permit process is the public comment period, which typically occurs after the permitting authority has completed its technical review of the permit application and issued a draft permit. The draft permit is made available for public review, and interested parties are invited to submit written comments or request a public hearing.

The public comment period typically lasts for 30 days, although it may be extended if there is significant public interest or if the permitting authority determines that additional time is necessary. During this period, any member of the public may submit comments on the draft permit, including concerns about the facility's potential impacts on air quality, public health, or the environment.

If a public hearing is requested, the permitting authority will schedule a hearing to allow interested parties to provide oral comments on the draft permit. The hearing is typically held in a location that is convenient for the affected community, and may include a presentation by the permitting authority and an opportunity for questions and answers.

The permitting authority is required to consider all substantive comments received during the public comment period and at the public hearing, and to provide written responses to each comment. If the comments result in significant changes to the draft permit, the permitting authority may be required to issue a revised draft permit for additional public review and comment.

Public participation in the Title V permit process is important for several reasons. First, it provides an opportunity for affected communities to learn about the facility and its potential impacts, and to voice their concerns and preferences. Second, it helps to ensure that the permitting authority considers a wide range of perspectives and information in making its decision. Finally, it promotes transparency and accountability in the permitting process, and helps to build public trust and confidence in the regulatory system.

Common Challenges and Pitfalls in the Title V Operating Permit Process

The Title V Operating Permit process can be complex and time-consuming, and facilities may encounter several common challenges and pitfalls along the way. Some of the most frequent issues include:

  1. Incomplete or inaccurate permit applications: Failing to provide all required information or supporting documents can result in delays or denials of the permit application. Facilities should carefully review the application requirements and ensure that all necessary materials are included.

  2. Underestimating emissions or applicable requirements: Facilities that underestimate their potential emissions or fail to identify all applicable regulations and standards may face additional requirements or enforcement actions later in the process. It is important to conduct a thorough assessment of the facility's emissions and regulatory obligations early in the planning process.

  3. Inadequate public outreach and engagement: Facilities that do not effectively communicate with affected communities or address public concerns may face opposition or challenges to their permit application. Engaging in proactive and transparent public outreach can help to build support and minimize conflicts.

  4. Delays in the permitting process: The Title V permit process can be lengthy and subject to delays, particularly if the application is incomplete or if there are significant public comments or concerns. Facilities should build sufficient time into their project schedules to account for potential delays.

  5. Changes in project design or operations: Facilities that make significant changes to their design or operations after submitting their permit application may need to revise or resubmit their application, resulting in additional delays and costs. It is important to carefully plan and evaluate the project before initiating the permitting process.

To avoid these challenges and pitfalls, facilities should consider the following best practices:

  • Conduct a thorough assessment of the facility's emissions and regulatory obligations early in the planning process, and engage in pre-application meetings with the permitting authority to clarify any questions or concerns.
  • Prepare a complete and accurate permit application, including all required forms, documents, and supporting materials, and carefully review the application for errors or omissions before submitting.
  • Engage in proactive and transparent public outreach and communication, including holding informational meetings, distributing fact sheets or newsletters, and responding promptly to public inquiries or concerns.
  • Build sufficient time and resources into the project schedule to account for potential delays or setbacks in the permitting process, and be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances or requirements.
  • Carefully evaluate any changes to the project design or operations that may affect the permit application, and consult with the permitting authority before making any significant modifications.

By following these best practices and learning from the experiences of other facilities, project proponents can navigate the Title V Operating Permit process more effectively and efficiently, and ensure that their projects are able to move forward in a timely and compliant manner.

TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS FOR PERMIT COMPLIANCE

Leveraging Technology for Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Compliance

Technology plays an increasingly important role in streamlining and enhancing compliance with the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit requirements. By leveraging advanced data management, site assessment, and monitoring tools, facilities can improve the efficiency, accuracy, and transparency of their permit compliance efforts.

Some of the key benefits of using technology for Title V permit compliance include:

  • Automated data collection and analysis, reducing the risk of errors or omissions
  • Real-time monitoring and reporting of emissions and other key parameters
  • Centralized data management and documentation, facilitating permit renewals and audits
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication among facility staff, contractors, and regulators
  • Improved tracking and management of permit conditions, deadlines, and requirements

Common tools and platforms used for Title V permit compliance include:

Tool/PlatformDescriptionBenefits
Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS)Automated systems that continuously measure and record emissions data from regulated sourcesReal-time emissions monitoring, improved data accuracy and reliability, reduced manual monitoring and reporting burdens
Environmental Management Information Systems (EMIS)Comprehensive software platforms that integrate data from multiple sources, including CEMS, production systems, and compliance documentationCentralized data management, automated reporting and alerts, enhanced data analysis and visualization, improved collaboration and communication
Predictive Emissions Monitoring Systems (PEMS)Software-based systems that use process data and statistical models to predict emissions levels in real-timeLower installation and maintenance costs compared to CEMS, improved process optimization and efficiency, proactive compliance management
Electronic Permit Submittal and Management SystemsWeb-based platforms that allow facilities to submit and manage permit applications, reports, and other compliance documents electronicallyStreamlined permit application and renewal processes, improved data accuracy and completeness, enhanced transparency and public access to permit information

By incorporating these and other technology solutions into their Title V permit compliance programs, facilities can enhance their ability to meet regulatory requirements, reduce compliance costs and risks, and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship.

Transect: An Innovative Solution for Site Selection & Environmental Due Diligence

Transect is an all-in-one environmental due diligence solution that combines cutting-edge software with hands-on field experience to revolutionize site selection and permitting for industries such as solar, wind, renewable energy, and more. By integrating comprehensive data sources, advanced analytics, and expert insights, Transect enables developers and permit applicants to streamline their site selection and permitting processes, reduce costs and delays, and ensure ongoing compliance with environmental regulations, including the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit requirements.

Some of the key features and benefits of Transect include:

  • Swift site pinpointing and suitability analysis: Transect's powerful geospatial tools allow users to quickly identify and evaluate potential project sites based on a wide range of criteria, including environmental constraints, land use restrictions, and infrastructure availability. This helps developers to focus their efforts on the most promising sites and avoid costly and time-consuming assessments of unsuitable locations.

  • Real-time data updates and critical issues identification: Transect integrates data from multiple sources, including satellite imagery, public databases, and user-generated reports, to provide real-time updates on site conditions and potential environmental risks. The platform's advanced algorithms and machine learning capabilities help to identify critical issues early in the site selection process, allowing developers to proactively mitigate risks and avoid delays.

  • Versatility across multiple industries and project types: Transect is designed to support a wide range of industries and project types, from renewable energy and infrastructure development to natural resource management and conservation planning. The platform's flexible and modular architecture allows users to customize their analyses and workflows to meet the specific needs of their projects and stakeholders.

  • User-friendly interface and intuitive workflow: Transect's intuitive user interface and streamlined workflow make it easy for users to access and analyze environmental data, even if they have limited technical expertise. The platform's collaborative features also facilitate communication and coordination among project team members, regulators, and other stakeholders.

  • Efficiency gains and cost savings compared to traditional methods: By automating many of the time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks associated with site selection and environmental due diligence, Transect helps developers to reduce costs and accelerate project timelines. The platform's data-driven insights also help to minimize the risk of unexpected delays or cost overruns due to environmental issues.

  • Proactive risk mitigation and compliance assurance: Transect's comprehensive environmental data and analytics capabilities help developers to identify and mitigate potential risks early in the site selection process, before they can impact project schedules or budgets. The platform's compliance management features also help users to track and fulfill permit requirements, including those associated with the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit, throughout the project lifecycle.

By leveraging Transect's unique capabilities, developers and permit applicants can streamline their site selection and permitting processes, reduce costs and delays, and ensure ongoing compliance with environmental regulations. The platform's data-driven insights and collaborative features also help to build trust and transparency among project stakeholders, including regulators, investors, and local communities.

As the demand for renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure projects continues to grow, innovative solutions like Transect will play an increasingly important role in helping developers to navigate the complex and evolving landscape of environmental regulations and permitting requirements. By combining advanced technology with expert knowledge and hands-on experience, Transect is poised to revolutionize the way that industries approach site selection and environmental due diligence, and to support the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

POST-PERMIT COMPLIANCE & MANAGEMENT

Title V Operating Permit Conditions & Compliance Obligations

A Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit typically includes a range of conditions and requirements that facilities must adhere to in order to maintain compliance and protect air quality. These conditions are based on the applicable federal, state, and local air quality regulations and are tailored to the specific emissions sources and control technologies at the permitted facility.

Some common types of conditions and requirements included in Title V permits are:

  • Emissions limits: Title V permits specify the maximum allowable emissions rates for regulated air pollutants, based on the applicable standards and the facility's potential to emit. Facilities must operate in a manner that ensures emissions do not exceed these limits.10

  • Operational requirements: Permits may include conditions related to the proper operation and maintenance of emissions control equipment, such as requirements for monitoring, testing, and recordkeeping. Facilities must follow these requirements to ensure that control technologies are functioning effectively and efficiently.11

  • Monitoring and testing: Title V permits typically require facilities to conduct periodic monitoring and testing of emissions sources and control devices to demonstrate compliance with emissions limits and operational requirements. Facilities must use approved methods and procedures and must follow specified schedules for monitoring and testing activities.12

  • Recordkeeping and reporting: Permits specify the records that facilities must maintain and the reports that they must submit to the permitting authority, including emissions data, compliance certifications, and deviation reports. Facilities must keep these records and reports on file and make them available for inspection upon request.13

  • Compliance certifications: Title V permits require facilities to submit annual compliance certifications, in which a responsible official must certify that the facility has complied with all applicable requirements and permit conditions during the reporting period. False or incomplete certifications can result in enforcement actions and penalties.14

Understanding and adhering to these permit conditions is critical for maintaining compliance and avoiding enforcement actions. Facilities should carefully review their Title V permits and develop compliance plans and procedures to ensure that all conditions and requirements are met on an ongoing basis. Regular self-audits and compliance assessments can also help facilities identify and address potential compliance issues before they result in violations or penalties.

Title V Operating Permit Monitoring, Reporting & Recordkeeping Requirements

Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permits include extensive monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements that facilities must follow to demonstrate compliance with permit conditions and applicable regulations. These requirements are designed to ensure that facilities are operating in a manner that protects air quality and public health, and to provide transparency and accountability to regulators and the public.

Some of the key monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements associated with Title V permits include:

  • Continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS): Many Title V permits require facilities to install and operate CEMS to continuously measure and record emissions of regulated pollutants from major emissions sources. CEMS data must be collected, quality-assured, and reported to the permitting authority on a regular basis, typically quarterly.15

  • Periodic emissions testing: Facilities may be required to conduct periodic stack tests or other emissions testing to demonstrate compliance with emissions limits and operational requirements. Testing frequency varies depending on the type of source and the applicable regulations, but is typically required annually or every few years.16

  • Recordkeeping: Title V permits specify the records that facilities must maintain, including emissions data, operating logs, maintenance records, and compliance documentation. These records must be kept on file for a specified period, typically five years, and must be made available for inspection upon request.17

  • Reporting: Facilities must submit regular reports to the permitting authority, including semi-annual monitoring reports, annual compliance certifications, and prompt deviation reports for any instances of non-compliance. These reports must be certified by a responsible official and must include all required information and data.18

Accurate and timely monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting are essential for demonstrating compliance with Title V permit conditions and avoiding enforcement actions. Facilities should develop and implement robust compliance programs that include clear procedures for monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting, as well as regular training for staff and contractors. Automated data management systems and compliance tracking tools can also help facilities streamline their compliance efforts and reduce the risk of errors or omissions.

Enforcement and Penalties for Non-Compliance with Title V Operating Permit

Facilities that fail to comply with the conditions and requirements of their Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permits can face a range of enforcement actions and penalties from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state permitting authorities. These actions are designed to bring facilities back into compliance, deter future violations, and ensure a level playing field for regulated entities.

Some of the potential consequences of non-compliance with Title V permit conditions include:

  • Administrative orders: Permitting authorities may issue administrative orders requiring facilities to take specific actions to come into compliance, such as installing additional control technologies or conducting more frequent monitoring and testing. Failure to comply with an administrative order can result in additional penalties.19

  • Civil penalties: Facilities that violate Title V permit conditions or applicable regulations may be subject to civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation (as of 2021). The amount of the penalty is based on factors such as the severity and duration of the violation, the economic benefit of non-compliance, and the facility's compliance history.20

  • Criminal charges: In cases of knowing or willful violations, or false statements in permit applications or compliance reports, facility owners and operators may face criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment.21

  • Permit revocation: In severe cases of non-compliance, or where a facility fails to correct violations after repeated enforcement actions, the permitting authority may revoke the facility's Title V permit, effectively shutting down operations until the facility can demonstrate compliance.22

Some common types of Title V permit violations that can result in enforcement actions include:

  • Exceeding emissions limits or operating without required control technologies
  • Failing to conduct required monitoring, testing, or recordkeeping
  • Submitting false or incomplete compliance certifications or deviation reports
  • Operating without a valid Title V permit or continuing to operate after a permit has expired

To mitigate the risks of enforcement actions and penalties, facilities should take prompt corrective action whenever a potential violation or compliance issue is identified. This may include immediately reporting the issue to the permitting authority, conducting a root cause analysis, and implementing corrective actions to prevent recurrence. Facilities should also maintain open and transparent communication with the permitting authority and be proactive in seeking guidance or assistance when needed.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & UPDATES

Recent Changes & Updates to Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit

The Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit program has undergone several significant changes and updates in recent years, reflecting evolving environmental regulations, legal decisions, and technological advancements. Some of the major changes and their implications are summarized below:

  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Tailoring Rule: In 2010, the EPA issued the GHG Tailoring Rule, which phased in Title V permitting requirements for facilities with significant GHG emissions. The rule set initial thresholds of 100,000 tons per year of CO2 equivalent for new facilities and 75,000 tons per year for modifications to existing facilities. These thresholds were later revised in 2014 to focus on the largest sources of GHG emissions.

  • Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS): In 2012, the EPA issued the MATS rule, which established strict emissions limits for mercury, acid gases, and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The rule required affected facilities to obtain Title V permits that incorporate the MATS requirements, including emissions monitoring, testing, and reporting. The compliance deadline for the rule was April 2015, with some facilities granted one-year extensions.

  • Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule: In 2019, the EPA issued the ACE rule, which replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The ACE rule established emissions guidelines for greenhouse gases from existing coal-fired power plants and required states to develop plans for implementing the guidelines. The rule also modified the New Source Review permitting program for power plants, potentially affecting the Title V permitting process for these facilities.

  • Once In, Always In (OIAI) Policy Rescission: In 2018, the EPA issued a guidance memorandum rescinding the OIAI policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. Under the OIAI policy, facilities that were once classified as major sources were required to maintain that classification even if their emissions fell below the major source thresholds. The rescission of the policy allows facilities to be reclassified as area sources if they limit their potential to emit below the thresholds, potentially affecting their Title V permitting requirements.

Facilities subject to Title V permitting should carefully review these and other regulatory changes and consult with their permitting authorities to determine the specific implications for their operations. Staying up-to-date with regulatory developments and guidance is critical for maintaining compliance and avoiding enforcement actions.

Additional Resources & Information

The following resources provide additional information and guidance on the Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit program:

  • EPA Clean Air Act Permitting website: The EPA's main portal for information on Clean Air Act permitting programs, including Title V. Provides links to regulations, guidance documents, and other resources.

These resources can help facilities navigate the complexities of the Title V permitting process and maintain compliance with permit conditions and applicable regulations. Facilities should also consult with their permitting authorities and legal counsel for site-specific guidance and assistance.

REFERENCES

  1. Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7412(a)(1).

  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). What are Hazardous Air Pollutants? https://www.epa.gov/haps/what-are-hazardous-air-pollutants

  3. Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7412(a)(1).

  4. Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7661(2).

  5. Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7661a(a).

  6. 40 C.F.R. §70.3(b)(1).

  7. 40 C.F.R. §63.6585(f)(1).

  8. 40 C.F.R. §70.3(b)(2).

  9. 40 C.F.R. §70.3(b)(3).

  10. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(1)

  11. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(i)(A)

  12. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(i)(B)

  13. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(ii)

  14. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(c)(5)

  15. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(i)(A)

  16. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(i)(B)

  17. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(ii)

  18. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(3)(iii)

  19. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(6)(i)

  20. 42 U.S.C. § 7413(b)

  21. 42 U.S.C. § 7413(c)

  22. 40 C.F.R. § 70.6(a)(6)(v)

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the Title V Operating Permit. However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.