DATE: June 29, 2001
TO: Environmental Regulatory Action Committee
FROM: Pamela A. Lacey, Senior Managing Counsel
RE: MACT for Oil & Gas Production and Natural Gas Transmission & Storage -- Final Technical Amendments Published June 29, 2001
In today’s Federal Register, EPA published final technical corrections to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAPS) issued in June 1999 for the oil & gas production category (40 C.F.R. Part 63, Supbart HH) and the natural gas transmission and storage category (Subpart HHH). 66 Fed. Reg. 34548 (June 29, 2001).
NESHAPS require new and existing major sources to control emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) to levels achieved by the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for the source category.
No Notice & Comment: EPA explains that it is issuing the changes as a final rule, rather than seeking comment on a proposal, because the changes to the rule are “minor technical corrections, are noncontroversial in nature, and do not substantively change the requirements of the Oil and Gas NESHAP.” 66 Fed. Reg. 34548. You may wish to review the technical amendments carefully to be sure you agree.
Gas Utility Storage Facilities Are Still Excluded: There is a confusing change to the provision describing which types of natural gas transmission and storage facilities are subject to the MACT. However, I just talked to Greg Nizich about this, and he said this was an error. There was not supposed to be any change in section 1270(a). He will take steps to get this corrected in the Federal Register. Unfortunately, the deadline for getting rules into the new July edition of the Code of Federal Regulations is July 1, 2001. This means the error will go into the July 1, 2001 CFR. But it will not remain law for long. As soon as the correction appears in the Federal Register, that will become the law. Also, because the changed language is gibberish, there should be no significant danger that anyone would attempt to enforce it as written.
- Section 1270(a) in the original rule published on June 17, 1999 said: "This subpart applies to owners and operators of natural gas transmission and storage facilities that transport or store natural gas prior to entering the pipeline to a local distribution company or to a final end user (if there is no local distribution company), and that are major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions as determined using the maximum natural gas throughput...."
- The text of the revised rule says: "This subpart applies to owners and operators of natural gas transmission and storage facilities that transport or store natural gas prior to entering the pipeline to a local distribution company or to a final end user (if there are no local HAP emissions as defined using sec. 63.1271)."
Section 63.1271 provides no definition of “local HAP emissions.” Greg Nizich was surprised to learn of this error and assured me this will be corrected so the first sentence in section 63.1270(a) reverts to the original text.
Summary of Other Significant Changes: See pages 34549-50 for EPA’s summary of certain changes that correct or clarify the rule to better reflect EPA’s original regulatory intent. Other editorial and cross-referencing changes have probably been made in the text of the rule, but they are not specifically described in the preamble. Some of the changes include:
- Potential to Emit: Facilities operating at or near their design throughput will be allowed to use that maximum design throughput to estimate their potential to emit. (The original rule required them to assume a throughput higher than the design maximum for calculating potential to emit.)
- Compressor Station Prior to Custody Transfer: EPA amended section 63,1270 to clarify that a compressor station that transports natural gas prior to the point of custody transfer or to a natural gas processing plant “is not part of the natural gas transmission and storage source category.” However, such a compressor station presumably could be covered instead by the oil and gas production MACT.
- Throughput – Use One Formula, Not Five: There were five formulas in Section 63.1270 for calculating throughput. EPA has replaced the five formulas with one equation that EPA says yields the same result.
- Definitions: EPA has amended the definitions of “custody transfer” for the transmission and storage category, and “major source” for oil and gas production.
- Performance Testing Exemption for Flares: EPA has clarified when flares are exempt from performance testing in the natural gas transmission and storage category. For control devices subject to performance testing, EPA also has clarified when performance test results must be submitted.
- Allows GRI-GLYCalc TM For Calculating Uncontrolled Emissions: EPA is altering both Subparts HH and HHH to allow owners and operators to use the GRI-GLYCalc TM method to calculate uncontrolled emissions.
- Reporting & Inspection Requirements: EPA made several changes to the inspection and reporting requirements that you will want to check to see if they affect your operations. Among other things, EPA clarified that owners and operators must report periods when a pilot flame is absent as parameter monitoring excursions.