EPA Regulatory Update

Regulatory Update on DC Circuit Court of Appeals Decision

Regulatory Update on DC Circuit Court of Appeals Decision on EPA’s 100-Hour Emergency Demand Response Provision

On July 21, 2015, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals amended its previous decision in favor of EPA stating that the vacatur included only the 100 hour emergency demand response provision and that the hours allowed for maintenance, readiness checks and testing be left as part of the rule.  Therefore, the Court is only vacating the part of the rule that allows for 100 hours of operation for emergency demand response.

Then on August 14, 2015, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals granted EPA’s ehgmotion to stay the mandate allowing the 100 hour emergency demand response provision to remain in effect until May 1, 2016.  As stated in the previous article, this will allow for owners and operators the time to install necessary controls to meet the requirements for non-emergency engines.  Therefore, beginning May 1, 2016, any engine operating for any type of demand response program will need to comply with the non-emergency provisions of the applicable regulation (NSPS Subpart IIII for newer engines and NESHAP Subpart ZZZZ for existing engines).

In addition, EPA has responded to questions raised by Cerio stating that engines manufactured in 2011 or later are required to be certified to Tier 4 emission standards (either Tier 4 Interim or Tier 4 Final depending on manufacture date) as a non-emergency engine.  Therefore, model year (MY) 2011 and later engines previously considered emergency under the 100 hour rule that were only required to be Tier 2 certified will now be required to be Tier 4 certified to continue to operate for demand response.  In addition, EPA stated that these engines cannot be retrofit with aftertreatment to meet Tier 4 emission standards but instead must be removed and Tier 4 certified engines installed.  Cerio does not agree with this interpretation by EPA and is attempting to resolve this matter in favor of owners and operators by allowing the engines in question to be retrofit with the appropriate aftertreatment and tested in the field to demonstrate compliance with Tier 4 emission standards.

For additional information pertaining to the Court decision or other air quality concerns, please contact us.

Increasing Demand for Diesel Particulate Filters

Pollution from diesel engines is an ever increasing problem across the U.S. and it significantly contributes to air pollution, especially in urban areas. Diesel exhaust is made up of small particles, known as fine particulate matter. Fine particles pose a serious health risk because they can easily pass through the nose and throat and lodge themselves in the lungs. When inhaled repeatedly, the fine particles in diesel exhaust may aggravate asthma and allergies or cause other serious health problems including lung cancer.

On March 10, 2015, the EPA proposed requirements for implementing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particle pollution (also known as PM2.5) in areas that are designated nonattainment for these standards.  These requirements would apply to current and future fine particle pollution standards.

Many States have already begin to implement regulation that limit the output of PM in diesel exhaust emissions such as Title 17, Section 93115 of the CA Code of Regulations.  Within the State of California, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, among the smoggiest regions of the U.S.  SCAQMD adopted/implemented Rule 1470 to regulate emissions exhaust of diesel engines.  Also in San Francisco, California, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) utilizes a Toxic Risk Assessment to determine how many hours a diesel engine may operate without utilize exhaust after-treatment.

PM from diesel engines is a widespread problem across New England and it significantly contributes to air pollution, especially in urban areas.  EPA New England is working to advance cleaner diesel engines, promote pollution control technology, prevent unnecessary idling and ultimately, make the black puff of smoke that can come from these engines an image of the past.

With continued tightening of clean air standards more facilities are turning to diesel particulate filters to ensure their combustion ignition engines meet emissions requirements for particulate matter (PM).  There are several diesel particulate filter solutions available to equipment owners/operators generally termed as passive or active filters.  While passive filters seem to satisfy many basic requirements for controlling PM, active filters appear to provide a much better return on investment as maintenance requirements are reduced and optimum operating conditions of the filter are regularly achieved.

For additional information pertaining to State and Federal requirements and solutions for controlling diesel particulate matter (PM), please contact us.

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EPA’s 100 Hour Emergency Demand Response Provision for Engines to be Vacated

On May 1, 2015, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals decided in Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control vs. EPA that EPA acted arbitrarily and capricious in its rulemaking that allowed emergency engines to be operated for up to 100 hours per year for emergency demand response operations for periods in which the Reliability Coordinator under the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Reliability Standard EOP-002-3, Capacity and Energy Emergencies (incorporated by reference, see §60.17), or other authorized entity as determined by the Reliability Coordinator, has declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 as defined in the NERC Reliability Standard EOP-002-3.  The Court reversed the 100 hour exemption for emergency engines under the NESHAP and NSPS regulations and remanded them back to EPA for further action.

On July 15, 2015, EPA responded to the Court’s decision and requested a stay of issuance of the mandate until May 1, 2016.  This request was to ensure grid reliability for this year, allow owners/operators of engines a reasonable time to install necessary controls and to allow EPA time to evaluate the need for a limited follow-up rulemaking.  In addition, EPA petitioned the Court for a panel rehearing that was unopposed to ensure that the requirement in the rule that limits maintenance checks and readiness testing to 100 hours per year be left in effect.

Therefore, the EPA’s response dictates that the 100 hour provision for emergency demand response will be vacated as of May 1, 2016.  This allows for current contracts to continue through this season and provides owners/operators the time to install the necessary pollution control equipment on the engines if they want to continue to operate for demand response purposes as a non-emergency engine.  These engines would now be considered non-emergency and would be subject to the regulations set forth in NESHAP Subpart ZZZZ for existing engines or NSPS Subpart IIII for new engines for non-emergency engines.  NESHAP Subpart ZZZZ requires non-emergency engines to install diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) to meet CO requirements and NSPS Subpart IIII would require engines to install selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and/or diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in order to meet the NOx and PM requirements for non-emergency engines.

In another related case that has been under review since April 2014 when several petitioners sought reconsideration of the same part of the regulations by EPA, EPA filed a motion for voluntary remand without vacatur of the provision in the regulations known as the 50 hour rule which allows for emergency engines to operate for non-emergency purposes to support local reliability.  It appears that EPA will now revisit this part of the regulation as well in light of the Court’s decision on May 1, 2015 with regards to the 100 hour rule.  Although EPA stated that they will conclude reconsideration of this part of the rule within a reasonable time period, no schedule has been set forth.

 

For additional information pertaining to this voluntary remand by EPA, please contact us.