Citizens Can Make a Difference ... Permit Review

Title V Permitting Tutorial

When reviewing permits, your goal is an "understandable" and enforceable permit that includes the right requirements and enough self-monitoring and reporting so that you can tell if the source is in compliance with the permit after the permit is issued.


Appropriate Issues for Citizen Review

  1. Determining what requirements apply to the source
    • Review permit application for description of applicable requirements
    • Review permit/permit summary for permitting authority‚Äôs description of applicable requirements
    • Compare to permits issued to similar sources, perhaps those issued by a different permitting authority
  2. Determining if applicable requirements are correctly recorded in the permit
    • Accuracy
    • Completeness
    • Statement of origin and authority
    • Each requirement in a Title V permit must identify the regulatory basis for that requirement. For example, a fossil-fuel-fired steam generator (electric utility boiler) that is subject to the federal New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) Subpart D has a visible emission standard that is found in 40 CFR 60.42(a)(2).
  3. Resolving ambiguous and conflicting permit terms
    • If a permit requirement references a requirement found in a different document, such as a federal regulation, rather than writing out the requirement in the Title V permit, the reference must clearly identify the requirement. If a referenced regulation allowed compliance by two different methods, for example, by either a material content requirement or a percent reduction requirement, then the permit requirement would be ambiguous.
    • If a permit contains similar but not identical requirements, compliance must clearly be required to be demonstrated for both independently or else the two conflicting requirements should be streamlined into one requirement that would assure compliance with each individual requirement.
  4. Reviewing issues involving judgment or discretion of the permitting authority
    • Periodic monitoring - If an applicable requirement does not contain adequate monitoring to assure compliance, the Title V permit must "fill the gap" by including sufficient monitoring, record keeping, reporting, or periodic testing to assure compliance.
    • Practical enforceability/Understanding
    • Schedule of compliance for a source that is not in compliance with all applicable requirements when the Title V permit is issued
    • Alternative emission limits
  5. Reviewing issues involving pre-construction permits (major and minor NSR and PSD permits)
    • Did the source obtain all required construction permits?
      • For example, was a major source or major modification permitted as a non-major source?
    • Did the source meet all requirements for the applicable permit programs?
      • For example, were offsets required for a major source or major modification located in a nonattainment area?
    • Were all of the procedural requirements followed by the permitting authority in issuing a construction permit?
      • For example, was there a public comment period for a major source or major modification permit before the permit was issued?
  6. Determining if the permit inappropriately limits the evidence that can be used to establish a violation ("any credible evidence" issue [ACE])
    • The Title V permit conditions must not limit the type of data or information (i.e., credible evidence) that may be used to prove a violation of any permit term.

Another Pop Quiz

  1. While reviewing a draft permit, it would be ineffective to focus on:
    1. Whether the emission limits contained in the SIP are too lenient,
    2. Whether the applicable requirements are correctly listed in the permit,
    3. Whether the permitting authority listed all of the applicable requirements in the permit,
    4. Whether the permit contains ambiguous terms, or
    5. All of the above.
  2. The permitting authority should add monitoring requirements to a permit when:
    1. The applicable requirement requires just one start up emission test,
    2. The applicable requirement does not require any monitoring,
    3. The applicable requirement does not mention how frequently the source must conduct monitoring, or
    4. All of the above.
  3. If the source has already been issued a pre-construction permit, which of the following comments is most likely to be considered by the permitting authority?
    1. The control equipment required by the pre-construction permit is not referenced in the Title v permit,
    2. The control equipment required by the pre-construction permit is inefficient by current standards, or
    3. The limits in the pre-construction permit are not adequate to protect human health.


1. a. 
Title V permits contain emission limits that are set by applicable requirements. Title V permits do not change the emission limits from applicable requirements, such as SIPs.
2. d. 
If the applicable requirement does not contain adequate monitoring to assure compliance, the Title V permit must "fill in the gap" by including sufficient monitoring, record keeping, reporting, or periodic testing to assure compliance.
3. a. 
The control equipment required by a pre-construction permit may not be changed by the Title V permit. However, in some cases (e.g., where the permitting authority did not follow the appropriate procedures in issuing the pre-construction permit) the Title V process will reveal flaws in the pre-construction permit that must be changed. In that case, the Title V permit would incorporate the changed pre-construction term.

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