Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) recently introduced two bills to streamline the process for expanding, upgrading, or otherwise modifying power plants and manufacturing facilities in certain instances.
Currently, the Clean Air Act requires a permitting process known as “New Source Review” in some cases before construction activities can begin. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined non-routine modifications require New Source Review. Although the definition of “non-routine modification” has been challenged and litigated for years, the definition remains unclear. For example, the EPA has considered some updates to facilities that will improve efficiency as non-routine modifications and subject these improvement plans to New Source Review.
Congressman Griffith said, “These bills encourage power plants and manufacturing facilities to reduce pollution and improve efficiency or grid reliability by not requiring the burdensome New Source Review. We should not penalize companies upgrading existing facilities while improving efficiency, trying to reduce pollutants or strengthening grid reliability. This will remove a roadblock that has discouraged companies from upgrading their facilities for these purposes.”
One of Congressman Griffith’s bills amends the Clean Air Act to exclude energy efficiency, pollution reduction and grid reliability projects from the definition of modification. The second changes the “emissions increase test” for New Source Review by changing the trigger point to be based on hourly rate instead of annual emissions.
“NMA welcomes this effort to correct structural deficiencies in the law that slow and possibly block projects that are designed to improve efficiency and productivity of industrial sources, including power plants,” said National Mining Association Senior Vice President Bruce Watzman.
-Submitted by Jessica Paska