Following are a few notes I took away yesterday from a meeting of the Associated Oregon Industries’ Environment and Energy Council. AOI policy manager, Mike Freese, and others updated the group on the Cleaner Air Oregon rule-making process.
- On Tuesday, March 21, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority are going to publish a proposed “framework” for the new health-risk-based air toxics regulations. AOI has reviewed a preliminary version of the framework, and Mr. Freese briefly noted a few elements:
- The rule will address facilities that currently are subject to an air quality permit and those that aren’t.
- Exclusions will be provided for sources that present a minimal health risk, and de-minimis screening levels will be included.
- The list of regulated toxic pollutants will be approximately half as long as the list of 633 pollutants facilities are currently required to inventory and report as part of an ongoing, one-time information gathering exercise.
- Cumulative risk from a single facility will need to be evaluated. The agencies are also still considering an approach to addressing area-wide cumulative risk.
- The framework will propose methods for phasing rule implementation.
- Facilities that don’t screen out based on toxics emission rates or modeled ambient concentrations will be required to develop a community engagement plan and a plan for reducing facility impacts below allowable risk levels. The latter plan will need to include evaluation and possible installation of “best available control technology” for toxics (T-BACT).
- The agencies will take public comment on the framework at an April 4th meeting of the Cleaner Air Oregon Advisory Committee in Eugene.
- The agencies expect to publish a draft rule for public comment sometime in mid-May.
- AOI shared a draft air toxics inventory cover letter. They encouraged everyone submitting an inventory report to consider also submitting a cover letter discussing methods, assumptions, limitations, etc. To view and download a copy of the draft cover letter–which can be used verbatim, in part, entirely, or customized–click here: AOI Cover Ltr – emissions inventory response
- The OHA recently proposed an expanded and revised set of “short-term guideline concentrations” (SGCs). They are screening values of ambient concentrations of 15 toxic compounds. The levels were set based on health effects resulting from exposure over one to several days. They will be used to guide agency experts in evaluating and responding to measured concentrations in specific areas and are likely to be a factor in development of the final air toxics rule. Public comments are due by March 31st. The proposed SCGs and supporting information can be found at this link.
We will provide updates when the framework is available and as the process continues. In the meantime, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.