Click here to to go the DEQ home page Click here to go to our list of rules Click here to see our publications, fact sheets, forms and news releases Click here to see our programs
Air Quality Update
June, 2010, Vol 13, No 2
Header Banner

GREENHOUSE GAS UPDATE

Climate Change and Global Warming have been "hot" topics for several years. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) traps heat in the atmosphere and has been blamed for most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years. Every year large quantities of GHG are released into the atmosphere by human activities. In 2007 the United States Supreme Court ruled that GHG emissions are air pollution and are subject to the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA published a GHG endangerment finding in 2009 and on May 7, 2010 in conjunction with the U. S. Department of Transportation published in the Federal Register the first GHG standards. They were for light duty motor vehicles. When these GHG standards become effective on January 2, 2011, GHG will become subject to regulation under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. This means that from that date forward, prior to construction of a new major stationary source or a major modification that would increase GHG, the source owner would need to obtain a PSD permit addressing the GHG increases and applying GHG Best Achievable Control Technology (BACT). For title V (Part 70), any new or existing source exceeding the major source threshold for GHG would have 1 year to submit a title V application, if it did not already have a title V permit.

EPA expressed concern that if PSD and title V permitting requirements apply at the applicability levels provided under the CAA, State permitting authorities would be overwhelmed by permit applications in numbers that are orders of magnitude greater than in their current programs. EPA proposed in the Federal Register dated September 27, 2009 to "tailor" the major source permitting thresholds for GHG emissions for PSD and title V and set a significance level for GHG for PSD modifications. The purpose of EPA's GHG tailoring rule is to shield small GHG emitting sources from the requirement of the PSD and title V permit programs and thus reduce the number of PSD and title V permits required because of GHG to a manageable level. The final GHG tailoring rule was published in the Federal Register dated June 3, 2010. In this rule, EPA defined GHG as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). On the basis of the judicial doctrines of "absurd results," "administrative necessity" and "one-step-at-a-time" this rule phases in the applicability thresholds for both the PSD and title V programs for sources of GHG emissions. While the existing mass-based thresholds for PSD of 100/250 tons per year (tpy) for new construction and zero tpy of modifications at a major stationary source, and 100 tpy for title V continue to apply, the tailoring rule sets the GHG permitting threshold for PSD and title V at 100,000 tpy carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of GHG and sets the PSD significance level at 75,000 tpy CO2e of GHG. For a source's GHG emissions to be subject to PSD or title V permitting, both the mass-based threshold and the CO2e-based thresholds must be met or exceeded.

In the GHG tailoring rule EPA has established a phase-in approach for PSD and title V applicability. The rule establishes the first two steps of the phase-in for the largest emitters of GHGs and commits to follow-up actions regarding future steps. The CO2e of GHG threshold levels are for 5 years during which time EPA will conduct a study to assess the administrability issues and determine if the threshold levels need to be revised. EPA will undertake any new necessary rulemaking in the 6th year.

The first step of the tailoring rule begins on January 2, 2011 when PSD or title V requirements will apply to a source's GHG emissions only if the source is subject to PSD or title V anyway due to their non-GHG pollutants (anyway sources). The applicable requirements of PSD (primarily BACT) will apply to projects that increase net GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy of CO2e.

The second step of the tailoring rule begins July 1, 2011 when new and existing sources emitting or having the potential to emit at least 100,000 tpy CO2e of GHG become subject to PSD and title V. In addition, sources that emit or have the potential to emit at least 100,000 tpy CO2e of GHG that plan to make a modification that will increase the GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy CO2e of GHG may be subject to PSD.

For both Step 1 and Step 2, the sources or modifications that exceed the CO2e thresholds will not be subject to PSD or title V unless their GHG emissions also exceed the corresponding mass-based triggers. The rule also provides that no source with emissions below 50,000 tpy of CO2e of GHG will be subject to PSD or title V permitting requirements until at least April 30, 2016.

EPA has finalized the rule in a manner that they feel will allow most states to implement the final rule prior to the January 2, 2011 effective date. The Air Quality Division (AQD) is currently studying this approach and evaluating whether or not it can be used in the State of Oklahoma and if not, what approach will be used. Depending on the results of that evaluation, AQD may need to make changes to existing State rules, particularly to Parts 5 and 7 of Subchapter 8 for the title V and PSD permitting programs, to Subchapter 7 for the minor permitting program, and to Subchapter 5 for any emission inventory or fee changes that might be necessary.

There remains opposition to controlling GHG under the Clean Air Act. It has been suggested that instead of EPA tailoring existing programs, Congress should promulgate new GHG laws or amend the CAA to fit GHG. However, on June 10, 2010 the Senate defeated a resolution that would have overturned EPA's finding that GHGs endanger public health and welfare by a vote of 53-47. At least eight organizations (environmental groups and industry) have filed for review of or challenged the light-duty vehicles rule and a group of 13 states, 2 localities, 2 organizations representing automobile manufacturers and a coalition of three environmental groups filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, motions to intervene in support of EPA in legal challenges to the GHG emissions standards for light duty vehicles.


APRIL 2010 AIR QUALITY ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING

The Air Quality Advisory Council held its April 21, 2010 meeting at the OSU-Tulsa campus in Tulsa Oklahoma. Ms. Diana Hinson of the Air Quality Division's Rules and Planning staff presented a description of the rule proposal for Subchapter 17, Incinerators, which the council voted to forward to the Environmental Quality Board with a recommendation that it be adopted as a permanent rule.

A new Part 4, Biomedical Waste Incinerators, for Subchapter 17, Incinerators, will incorporate the control technology for this type of incinerator originally established under the authority of Subchapter 41, Control of Emission of Hazardous and Toxic Air Contaminants, which was revoked in 2007. In addition, the Department has identified regulatory gaps in Subchapter 17, Part 7, Hospital, Medical and Infectious Waste Incinerators, when pathological waste, low-level radioactive waste, and chemotherapeutic waste are incinerated. The addition of Part 4 will reestablish the Department’s design requirements and emission standards for biomedical waste incinerators and close the regulatory gap in Part 7.

Permitting Issues
Several recently finalized and pending EPA actions will directly affect the permitting process. Phillip Fielder, AQD Engineering Programs Manager, provided a presentation which detailed these changes and their possible impacts. EPA’s pending rulemaking actions include the Tribal Rule, Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule (GHG), and Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) 112 j interpretation. The Tribal Rule will be used by EPA to implement a minor source permitting and non-attainment programs on tribal lands. In the GHG tailoring rule update, he clarified the process used by EPA to declare greenhouse gases regulated pollutants. EPA is proposing to phase in permitting of these sources during 2011. EPA is also proposing to modify 112j of the Clean Air Act to clarify specific timelines in which sources are required to submit case-by-case MACT permit applications when an existing MACT standard is completely vacated.

In addition, Mr. Fielder covered the new rulemaking in which EPA finalized a new 1-hour NAAQS for NO2. This new standard was effective April 12, 2010, and a demonstration of compliance is required for any permit requiring an ambient impact analysis. The final issue concerned the PM2.5 surrogate policy. Previously, EPA had allowed states and source to use PM10 as a surrogate for PM2.5 when conducting Best Available Control Technology reviews and ambient impact analyses. The new guidance put significant limitations on this process. Sources facing this issue should contact DEQ to determine the best method to complete these reviews.

Ozone Update
Scott Thomas, Environmental Programs Manager with DEQ's Air Quality Division (AQD), gave a presentation on the Ozone Attainment Status in Oklahoma. He provided a review of the timeline for implementation of the new federal ozone standards, and presented scenarios for various ozone standards, in anticipation of the EPA's guidance to be published late this summer. Under current conditions, many areas that are currently designated as attainment could become non-attainment under the new standards.

The next meeting of the council will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, in Oklahoma City. The regularly scheduled July meeting has been cancelled.


Health Advisory Program Expands

The Division will soon be sending email advisories for PM10, CO, NO2, SO2.

Four years ago, the Air Quality Division began sending email messages to advise Oklahomans when levels of ozone and/or fine particulate matter reach concentrations that are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. The messages are called Air Quality Health Advisories and the program will now expand to include sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and coarse particulate matter.

New research shows these criteria pollutants are more harmful to human health at lower concentrations than previously thought. This has led the federal government to seek more stringent standards for these criteria pollutants. These new standards will be used as triggers for the expanded advisory program to inform the public if and when concentrations of air pollutants reach levels considered to be unhealthy.

The Air Quality Division already monitors for all criteria pollutants. While monitors for the expanded advisories are somewhat limited in area coverage, they are located in the highest populated areas of the state including Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ponca City and Muskogee. The concentrations causing concern for these pollutants are rarely seen here, however, the division is be ready to notify the public as quickly as possible whenever they occur.

The current graphic advisory format has been expanded to include headings for each new pollutant. Maps will continue to feature all 77 Oklahoma counties and be keyed with colors from EPA's Air Quality Index to indicate the areas of concern. The advisory message will be specific to each pollutant to guide the public as to who is at risk and what they should do.

To sign up for Air Quality Health Advisories, click here right now http://www.deq.state.ok.us/aqdnew/AdvisorySignUp.htm to help make healthier choices this summer.


2009 Emission Inventory Deadline Arrives

Over 550 Oklahoma companies used Redbud, Oklahoma's web-based emission inventory tool, to submit their 2009 Emissions Inventories this spring. Inventories were due April 1, 2010. The Air Quality Division (AQD) has received many favorable comments in regards to the ease of using Redbud and the improvements made this last year to the system. Comments and suggestions received in the workshops and with the returned inventories will be addressed over the next several months for inclusion into the Redbud system.

The next step for the submitted data will be quality control checks. The data is compared to known values, previous submittals and expected ranges using a series of database queries. Omitted or questionable data will be verified or corrected by emissions inventory personnel after communication and agreement with the inventory preparer. As a result of these quality reviews, many past recurring errors have been virtually eliminated.

This year, as required by EPA and the National Emissions Inventory (NEI), Air Quality will be submitting our 2008 annual estimates of pollutants discharged and their sources to the EPA. This NEI data can then be utilized to track trends, develop pollution reduction policies and model air pollutant dispersion. AQD's continuing improvements to Oklahoma's data will help with the accuracy of these programs.


DEQ Gets Around OK

A recent survey by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) showed that eighty-three percent of commuters in the Oklahoma City area drive to work alone.

"Gasoline prices are the barometer that measures how we live our lives: how we drive, what we drive, where we drive," said Jerry Church, Director of Media for ACOG. "The higher the price per gallon, the more it impacts our daily commute."

On May 5th, ACOG presented their new rideshare program, Get Around OK, to DEQ. The program centers around a web site, GetAroundOk.Com, designed to help people who might consider an alternative to the one car/one person paradigm that currently rules the city.

The web site collects data from interested parties who work in and around central Oklahoma and groups them into a database to match by location, work hours, part-time or full-time schedules, and a number of other factors that could attract new persons to ridesharing. The program tries to address the downfalls of rideshares by reimbursing cab fare when riders have a family emergency or for some unexpected reason must get home. It maps bike routes and walking trails and promotes events like Bike to Work Day and other opportunities to explore alternative transportation. And it helps people connect with others who are similarly inclined.

So if you've considered carpooling and it's just never worked out for you, go to GetAroundOK.com. It opens up all kind of opportunities for full time, part time, or anytime rideshares and could make getting around Oklahoma City cheaper, quicker, healthier and a lot more fun.

If you'd like to learn more about this program, contact Meredith Williams (mwilliams@acogok.org) or Jerry Church (jchurch@acogok.org) at ACOG. They not only give an interesting presentation, they give prizes!

The Air Quality Division is now a sponsor of GetAroundOK. The presentation at DEQ was made in observance of National Air Quality Awareness Week along with events featuring the expansion of our Air Quality Health Advisory program. To sign up for our health advisories go to http://www.deq.state.ok.us/aqdnew/AdvisorySignUp.htm and we'll make it easy to make healthier choices this summer.


AP-42 EMISSION FACTOR UPDATES

(Please note that this information has not changed since the March newsletter.)

Currently, EPA lists three chapters under review. Comments on Chapter 2, Section 4: Municipal Solid Waste Landfills, were due by May 5, 2009. The comment period on Chapter 4, Section 12: Manufacture of Rubber Products, closed February 2, 2009 and Chapter 15: Ordance Detonation, closed December 7, 2009. Instructions for using draft sections that have completed the comment period but are not designated as "final" are available on the webpage listed below.

Find more AP-42 information on EPA's TTN-CHIEF Bulletin Board at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/index.html.


Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule

As of April 22, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program (http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm) became effective. This new rule is being administered in Oklahoma by EPA and requires renovators, remodelers, and multi-family unit maintenance professionals to become certified by the EPA before painting, renovating or remodeling housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978. This certification is required when a renovation, repair or painting job disturbs more than 6 square feet of interior surface or 20 square of exterior surface. To become certified, renovation contractors must submit an application and fee payment to EPA.

Application for firm certification (PDF) (9 pp, 642K)
Example application for a renovation firm (PDF) (2 pp, 299K)

More information is available at (http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm), or by calling either 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or the EPA Region 6 office in Dallas at 214-665-2704. For questions related to lead-based paint inspections, risk assessments, or lead abatements regulated through the Oklahoma Lead-Based Management Rules, contact AQD's Environmental Lead Program at 1-405-702-4100 (http://www.deq.state.ok.us/aqdnew/lbp/index.htm).

The Air Quality Division recognizes that having two (2) different Lead-Based Paint programs operating at the same time can be confusing and welcome phone calls from the public. Division staff is familiar with the RRP program and will assist callers in obtaining the information they need.

EPA announced on June 18, 2010 a delay in enforcement of this rule. Information will be available on the DEQ webpage (http://www.deq.state.ok.us/aqdnew/lbp/index.htm).


9th Annual ScienceFest Again a Success

ScienceFest season has come to an end in Oklahoma, with this year being the largest participation year in history. Over 5,000 4th and 5th grade students, with their teachers and a lot of parents attended this year's event at the Oklahoma City Zoo on April 22, 2010. This annual event has become the signature Earth Day Event for DEQ, as both a sponsor and provider of many of the activities. Among the many amazing display booths, DEQ Air Quality Division (AQD) staffed several alternative energy and fuel conservation educational activities.

By introducing alternative energy concepts and conservation techniques to kids at a young age, the Air Quality Division hopes to lead kids and their families to a better understanding of these new technologies. Acceptance of new technologies can promote a future market place where innovative energy products and energy savings techniques can compete with fossil fuels, which in turn will reduce greenhouse gases.

All three ODEQ Air Quality stations featured activities dealing with alternative energy and energy conservation. The Clean Air Challenge Station featured hands on activities consisting of puzzles, games and word searches focusing on air quality and alternative energy. Test Your Air IQ challenged students and educators with relevant questions concerning our air quality and how we can improve it, and the Characteristics of Air Station promoted an interactive question-and-answer session between students, teachers and air quality professionals.

This was the 9th Annual ScienceFest and it started with a deceiving trickle as the first kids literally ran up to the booths. Before long all of the booths were surrounded by a sea of chattering, energized faces from all over the state, many in matching Earth Day shirts from their schools. Many students tried to stump the presenters with tough questions; so far AQD staff have been able to answer all of the tough questions but every year the kids ask better ones.

Future planned demonstrations and challenges will explore topics such as, solar energy basics, applications of wind energy and greenhouse gas education. The Division looks forward to working with the next generation of explorers and inventers encouraging them to be environmentally conscious of the world around them.


Summer of Air Toxics

The summer season of 2010 is going to be very active in the air toxics field. The Air Quality Division is updating and enlarging the annual MAAC review document to include maps that illustrate the results of our monitoring activities. This year we are also expanding the discussion portion to better explain the role of the MAAC standards as screening levels, not as health standards. This will be a preview to the discussion later in the summer when EPA releases the final School Air Toxics data with comparisons to the health benchmarks. Although Oklahoma has no sites in EPA's School Air project, four of our five air toxic monitoring sites are located near schools and are comparable to EPA's sites. This will be a very valuable comparison since there are so few toxic monitoring sites nationally that are comparable.

Also coming this summer from EPA is the 2005 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) that is entering the final review period this month. Oklahoma and other states requested over 18,000 corrections to the emission data in this latest version; it will use a much lower formaldehyde benchmark than earlier versions. This will increase the calculated risk from formaldehyde over 100 times in some areas. EPA has just released a draft toxicological assessment for formaldehyde, and if it is accepted into the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) EPA will begin reviewing the MACT standards that include formaldehyde emissions. This is expected to become a trend as EPA tries to re-start the IRIS review process and update the standards based on current toxicological values and modern sampling technology.

In 2007 AQD began a long-term project to study atmospheric deposition of mercury by rainfall. The annual maps from that project will be coming out again this summer; each year the maps have changed as more sites and data become available nationally and we expect that trend to continue this year. DEQ's Customer Service Division has partnered with AQD in the study of mercury, and this summer they expect to begin releasing data and advisories on the consumption of fish from Oklahoma lakes.

Modern technology and increasing amounts of data now make it possible to look for air toxic concentrations and trends in areas across the state where only a few years ago it would have been impossible. Each toxicological study leads to more interest and inquiries in this rapidly evolving area.

Search

Current News or Events

Environmental Education

Public Information

Contact List

About AQD

Air Quality Education

Fact Sheets

Search DEQ

DEQ Calendar of Events

DEQ Env. Education

Publications

DEQ Address

News Releases

Environmental License Tag

DEQ Forms

Permits for public review

    Reports

Lawton | INCOG | ACOG | CenSARA | CENRAP | EPA Home | State of Oklahoma