EPA Proposes New National Emission Standards for Aerospace Manufacturing Sector [US]

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing amendments to the national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities.  The Aerospace NESHAP applies to the surface coating and related operations at new and existing major source facilities engaged in the manufacture or rework of commercial, civil or military aerospace vehicles or components.  EPA is accepting comments until April 3, 2015. Requests for a public hearing must be received by February 23, 2015.

Proposed amendments to the aerospace industry’s NESHAP by the Environmental Protection agency

Following EPA’s completion of the Residual Risk Assessment for the Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities Source Category in Support of the January, 2015 Risk and Technology Review Proposal, January 2015, the EPA has proposed amendments to the aerospace industry’s NESHAP, codified in 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart GG.

  • The EPA’s RTR of the aerospace industry identified several sources of emissions not currently regulated under this industry’s NESHAP rules.  According to the EPA, regulating these sources and implementing this proposed amendment to Subpart GG will result in a 58-ton reduction of HAP.  The proposal would apply existing standards to these additional emissions sources.  The amendment imposes a limit on organic and inorganic emissions of HAP from specialty coating application operations, which include the application and removal of adhesives, adhesive bonding primers and sealants.  This would require facilities to use high-efficiency paint guns and other application equipment already in place for primer and topcoat spraying for these specialty coating operations as well.
  • In response to a recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down the affirmative defense for emission violations occurring during startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM), the proposed rules would remove the SSM exemption that exists under the current NESHAP.  This subjects regulated units in the SSM period to these emission standards at all times.  Recordkeeping and reporting requirements applicable to normal operations will apply to startup and shutdown operations as well.  Furthermore, the EPA is proposing that owners and operators of Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities submit electronic copies of required performance test and performance evaluation reports using EPA-provided software.

Environmental protection Agency is accepting public comment until April 3, 2015

Of the 144 aerospace facilities regulated by the existing Aerospace NESHAP rules, approximately 109 will be affected by the proposed new rules.  The EPA estimates that the annual cost to each facility would be about $590,000 to implement the proposed rules, largely because of additional monitoring and recordkeeping costs. The EPA is accepting public comments on these proposed amendments to the Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facility NESHAPs until April 3, 2015. A request for a public hearing must be received by February 23, 2015.  If a hearing is requested, it will take place on March 4, 2015.

Over 190 specific hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) identified in the Clean Air Act

Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) identifies over 190 specific hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), which are air-borne contaminants found to increase the chances of fatalities or serious, irreversible, or incapacitating illness.  The CAA establishes national emission standards for these hazardous air pollutants, known as NESHAPs.  NESHAPs are industry-specific limitations and apply to all major stationary air emission sources.  A “major source” is defined as a facility that emits or has the potential to emit 10 tons per year (tpy) or more of a single HAP or 25 tpy or more of any combination of HAP.

National emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants must reflect a technology-based standard : MACT

NESHAPs must reflect a technology-based standard known as MACT, or maximum achievable control technology. This standard reflects the maximum degree of emission reductions of HAP an industry can achieve after considering cost, energy requirements and non-air quality health and environmental impacts. Both new and old affected major sources must meet these specific emissions limits, which are based on the emissions levels already achieved by the best-performing similar facilities.

  • To ensure that the MACT standards remain current, the CAA requires the EPA to review these technology-based standards and revise them as necessary (taking into account developments in practices, processes and control technologies) no less frequently than every 8 years.
  • Section 112 of the CAA establishes a two-stage regulatory process to execute this and requires the EPA to conduct a residual risk and technology review (RTR) as part of the process.
  • In light of the results of the EPA’s Residual Risk Assessment for the Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities Source Category in Support of the January, 2015 Risk and Technology Review Proposal, January 2015, the EPA has proposed amendments to the aerospace industry’s NESHAP, codified in 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart GG.

Red-on-line EHS Legal expert

Sources:

Proposed Rule: National Emission Standards for Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities Risk and Technology Review, 80 FR 8391, February 17, 2015 (amending 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart GG).

40 CFR Part 63, Subpart GG.