In the past, Minor Source Air Permits issued by LDEQ typically did not have an expiration date. That has changed. Per Louisiana Revised Statute 30:2023(A), all environmental permits issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) “shall have, as a matter of law, a term of not more than ten years.” Louisiana’s air quality regulations had been silent, however, with respect to the term of minor source permits. On February 20, 2015, LDEQ filled this gap by adopting a rule setting forth maximum terms and renewal procedures for minor source permits (“the Rule”). La. Reg. 41:346. The new minor source permit term requirements and permit renewal procedures are established at revised LAC 33:III.503.C and 519.
While the Rule provides that the maximum permit term is 10 years, the Department can specify a shorter term in the permit. Id. § 503.C.1.a. The term runs from the last date that the permit was issued or modified. A permit application to renew an existing permit that expires after January 1, 2016 must be submitted in accordance Section 503.C.3.a and must be submitted at least 6 months prior to the date of permit expiration. Thus, if a minor source permit was last issued or modified on January 10, 2008, it would expire January 10, 2018. Renewal applications for minor source permits issued on January 2, 2006 will be due July 2, 2015, and so on. However, an exception to this deadline for renewal is provided for the renewal of existing minor source permits that would otherwise expire due to the new provisions on or before December 31, 2015.
The Rule states that a schedule will be published in the Louisiana Register for the submittal dates for applications to renew existing permits that expire on or before December 31, 2015. At a February 12, 2015, public meeting, Department representatives anticipated that such schedule would be published in either March or April. At that public meeting, LDEQ presented the following tentative schedule:
- October 1, 2015, for permits that were issued or last modified prior to January 1, 1999;
- October 1, 2016, for permits that were issued or last modified after January 1, 1999, but prior to January 1, 2003; and
- October 1, 2017, for permits that were issued or last modified after January 1, 2003, but prior to January 1, 2006.
As the first permit renewal applications will be due on July 2, 2015, and others may be phased in shortly thereafter, it is suggested that facilities with minor source permits begin reviewing their current operations to determine whether any changes have occurred since their permits were originally issued or last modified which must be accounted for in their permit renewal applications. For instance, Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Air Pollution Emission Factors (AP-42) and Department-accepted estimation methods may have been promulgated or revised since their permits were originally issued or last modified, which could require changes in calculated emissions. Pursuant to LAC 33:III.501.C.12, changes in reported emission levels due solely to revised AP-42 emission factors or Department-accepted estimation methods do not constitute violations of an air permit; however, the Department may evaluate such changes on a case-by-case basis, including but not limited to, assessing compliance with other applicable Louisiana air quality regulations. This is just one of several reasons to start the permit review process as soon as possible.
Note that the Rule applies only to sources that have some form of a minor permit, including Small Source Permits and Minor Permits. It does not apply to sources that have been granted an exemption under LAC 33:III.501.B.4 due to having a maximum potential to emit less than 5 tons per year of any criteria permit and that otherwise meet the criteria set forth at Section 501.B.4. See id. § 503.B.1.
For more information on the LDEQ air permitting program and links to air permit application forms click here.