You Mentioned MACT Standards and EPA’s Timeline. Can You Further Explain the MACT Bins?

In Lecture 2, Regulations, we discussed EPA’s progress associated with the implementation of the MACT standards, which contain sampling and analytical guidance on quantifying emissions covered by the standard.  In December, 1997, EPA submitted a report to Congress entitled:  Second Report to Congress on the Status of the Hazardous Air Pollutant Program under the Clean Air Act.  According to the report, EPA has fulfilled the 2- and 4-year groups (bins) for approximately 25 % of the 173 listed source categories in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.  The Agency is, however, falling behind on promulgating standards for the 7- and 10-year groups.  Twenty-nine (29) new standards were to be originally due in 1997, but will now be promulgated in 1998.  With each of these standards, test methods must be identified for compliance purposes.

One of the interesting areas that is still under discussion is whether residual risk (10 -6) issues will apply once the MACT standard is in place for a source category.  As you recall in our presentation, we discussed the the requirements in the CAAA of 1990 that the after applying MACT, the Agency can return to the source category and apply additional controls for residual risk!  This issue has not been resolved to date and is one of the reasons the Agency is behind on meeting the MACT schedule identified in the CAAA of 1990.  Failure to meet the schedule would require the Agency to set case-by-case MACT standards, which might lead to more stringent application of control technology and emission limits.  The Agency would like to prevent a case-by-case MACT program, due to cost and manpower.

Consequently, the Agency has developed a MACT Partnership Program.  The program is designed to ease the burden of establishing MACT standards for all source categories and help the Agency meet its schedules for promulgating standards.  The program has two phases:  Phase I involves the Agency developing a presumptive MACT standard based on limited data it has gathered (without additional stack test).  During this phase, EPA and state/local agencies agree on the presumptive standard.  Phase II involves final-standard development, which then brings in stakeholders (industry, consultants, affected facilities etc.) for final rule development.  The two phase approach reduces the normal time of MACT standard development from 4 years to about 2 years.