We have previously posted about EPA’s efforts to roll back regulatory changes made by the Bush Administration, particularly with respect to the NSR program. There is no question that the roll-back continues. This week, EPA announced it would review three separate NSR rules promulgated by the Bush administration. These include:
The “reasonable possibility” rule, which identified when major sources must keep records even if a contemplated change is not expected to trigger NSR review
The fugitive emissions rule, which limited by source category when fugitive emissions must be taken into account in determining NSR applicability
The PM2.5 rule, which included provisions regarding submittal of state implementation plans, or SIPs, for PM 2.5 compliance. One particular issue of concern is the provision which deferred until 2011 the date by when states must account for emissions of gases, emitted from coal-fired power plants, which may condense to form PM 2.5.
In a narrow way, EPA’s decision to revisit these rules will likely lead to lower emissions of air pollutants subject to NSR in some cases. At a broader level, these reviews ignore the fundamental problems with the NSR program and whether the NSR program is a dinosaur of command and control regulation that is not a cost-effective of achieving emissions reductions.