New Source Review

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 8:00pm


Advocate for revision of the New Source Review program in order to achieve improved environmental protection and increased energy production.

Summary of the Issue

The New Source Review (NSR) program, under the Clean Air Act, establishes emissions standards for new and modified stationary sources of air pollutants. Traditionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resisted treating routine maintenance and repairs as major modifications requiring new permits and more stringent controls. In 1998 EPA significantly narrowed the exemption for routine maintenance to cover only frequent, traditional, and comparatively inexpensive repairs made to maintain existing equipment. EPA began a series of enforcement efforts based on this new interpretation of the exclusion.

Beginning in 2002, EPA reviewed the NSR rules and made numerous recommendations to streamline them and provide certainty for the regulated community. These recommendations culminated in EPA promulgating new provisions in August 2003 concerning routine equipment replacement rules. The equipment replacement rules clarify the regulatory process and allow facilities to replace process unit parts without fear that the improvements will put the facility in violation of the NSR program. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will continue to advocate for rules that clarify the effects of routine maintenance and repair.

EPA has considered a number of other revisions to the NSR rules. Plantwide Applicability Limits would allow a facility to avoid the NSR permitting process when making alterations if actual emissions remain below a plantwide cap. EPA has also reviewed provisions that would allow a facility to make changes to a designated unit without triggering further review if the change does not alter permitted emissions limits, work practice requirements, or any physical or operational characteristics of the facility. Finally, EPA is contemplating recognition of environmentally beneficial technologies, the installation of which should not trigger NSR review, as well as changing the methodology for calculating emissions with a new procedure for determining actual baseline emissions.

U.S. Chamber Strategy

  • Oppose legislative attempts to block NSR reform efforts.
  • Continue to advocate for NSR reforms that streamline the permitting process, provide flexibility, and ensure regulatory certainty for facility owners and operators.
  • Advocate for alignment between EPA regulatory and enforcement policies.

Staff Contact Information

Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs
(202) 463-5533