Opportunities for Public Input in Title V Permitting

Title V Permitting Tutorial

What opportunities for input and oversight does the public have during the life of a permit?

  1. Obtain documents in permit file and get ready for public comment period.
    • It may be helpful to review:
      • Title V permit application
      • prior permits (like NSR and PSD permits)
      • monitoring reports
      • inspection reports
  2. Comment on draft permit.
    • EPA is more likely to review a permit on which the public has commented. You may want to send a copy of your comments to your EPA Regional Office.

  3. Request a public hearing on the draft permit.
    • Title V and Part 70 require that the permitting authority provide an “opportunity for public comment and a hearing on the draft permit.” If you feel you have been unfairly denied a hearing because of state law or interpretation, you can raise this issue in your comments and bring this to the attention of EPA.
  4. Petition EPA to object to the proposed permit if EPA failed to object during its 45-day review period.
    • Petition must be filed within 60 days of the end of the 45-day review period.
    • Ask EPA when the 45-day periods ends.
    • You can petition EPA by letter, without an attorney.
    • Send copies of the petition to the permitting authority, the source, and to the EPA Administrator. You may also want to send a copy to your EPA Regional Office.
  5. After the permit is issued:
    • Challenge inadequate permit in State court.
    • Appeal EPA’s failure to grant your petition to federal court.
    • Track whether the source is complying with its permit by reviewing the semi-annual monitoring reports and annual compliance certifications.
    • Keep track of applications for permit modifications (you’ll have the opportunity to comment and request a hearing for "significant" permit modifications)
    • Request that the permit be re-opened if grounds exist for re-opening.
    • Keep track of the source’s application for renewal (you’ll have the opportunity to comment and request a hearing on applications for permit renewal)

What types of permitting actions require public participation opportunities?

The District must provide notice of the draft permit, an opportunity to comment and request a public hearing for the following permitting actions:

  1. Initial permit issuance
  2. "Significant" permit modifications
    • When a source changes its operations, it may need to have its permit revised or modified.
      • Check 40 CFR 70.7 to determine if a revision is needed.
      • Public participation is limited to the part of the permit that will change.
    • Under current rules, permit modifications are classified according to their significance—significant, minor, or administrative.
      • Public review applies to a source’s application for a significant permit modification.
      • Other permit changes, which are less environmentally significant, do not get public review.
  3. Renewals
    • Permits expire every 5 years and must be renewed.
    • Sources must apply for renewal at least 6 but not more than 18 months before its permit expires.
  4. Re-openings
    • A permit must be re-opened if:
      • new applicable requirements apply to the source (e.g., new MACT standard) and it’s 3 or more years before the permit expires.
      • the permit contains a material mistake, inaccurate statements were made in establishing the permit terms, or the permit fails to assure compliance with applicable requirements.

      E.g., material error due to incorrect information provided by the source on its application

      E.g., permit does not assure compliance because monitoring is inadequate or permit terms are not enforceable

Role of citizens and EPA in permit re-openings

  • EPA can require that the District re-open the permit if there are grounds for reopening or EPA can reopen and reissue the permit if the District fails to re-open.
  • Citizens can petition EPA at any time to re-open a permit, although part 70 does not create any procedure or time frame for EPA response.
  • Public comment and review apply to just the part of the permit that causes the permit to be re-opened.

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