EPA starts voluntary program for Texas flexible permit holders

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 30
-- The US Environmental Protection Agency has set up a voluntary audit program to help industries operating in Texas with flexible permits obtain air-quality permits that meet state and federal requirements and the protections of the Clean Air Act. In its announcement earlier this month, EPA stated that it never approved in the state implementation plan the flexible-permit program administered Texas’s Commission on Environmental Quality (OGJ, Sept. 14, 2009, Newsletter).

The program is available for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register, which occurred in the Sept. 28, 2010, issue. Companies signing up in the first 45 days can take advantage of a reduced penalty incentive for potential violations.

"Our main objective is to get each and every permit holder a federally approved permit issued by the TCEQ," said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. The new EPA program “benefits companies by providing liability protection, and benefits communities by identifying clear enforceable pollution limits and developing projects to mitigate past environmental impacts."

The audit program offers a “covenant from civil enforcement” by the federal government, according to the announcement, for companies with flexible permits operated outside federal requirements, “provided that companies agree to and complete the proposed audit program.”

In addition, companies that enter the audit will no longer be subject to EPA's use of Title V tools for permits issued that do not contain all CAA requirements, it said.

How it works
Under the program, a third-party auditor will conduct an independent review of operations, modifications, and permitting activities that occurred since issuance of the flexible permit so that the federally applicable requirements can be identified for a new permit. These independent findings will be “directly transmitted” to the company and EPA and used to “establish new limits in state-issued permits.” EPA said it anticipates the audit process to take about a year.

The program requires participants to obtain federally approved state permits from the TCEQ. A company would enter into a consent agreement and final order (CAFO) with EPA “based on the findings of the third-party audit.” This audit program and CAFO would resolve any new-source review “noncompliance issues” that occurred while operating with the flexible permit “provided that the companies complete the audit program.”

EPA said the audit program “encourages companies to sponsor local community projects that will bring environmental and public health benefits” to people affected by the companies’ daily operations.

The federal audit program is one of two paths available for companies to make the transition of their flexible permits to a permit that meets federal and state requirements, said the agency.

“EPA is also inviting companies to contact the EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division if they are interested in more direct negotiations with EPA that would result in federally-enforceable permits and resolution of non-compliance and Title V uncertainty,” said the announcement.

Related Articles

Low crude prices alter challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, speakers say

03/10/2015 Significantly lower crude oil prices have reduced foreign companies’ interest in developing oil and gas resources in sub-Saharan Africa nations, sp...

Cairn Energy disputing Indian tax claim

03/10/2015 Cairn Energy PLC, Edinburgh, is disputing a tax claim by the Indian government for $1.6 billion related to the 2006 reorganization of its former In...

EIA: Monthly average Brent price up for first time in 8 months

03/10/2015 North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $58/bbl in February—up $10/bbl from the January average—representing the first monthly average price incr...

Tap Oil awarded two blocks on North West Shelf

03/10/2015 Tap Oil Ltd. has been awarded 100% interest in Blocks W14-7 and W14-16 in the prospective Barrow and Dampier sub-basins on the North West Shelf as ...

API is examining dilbit’s environmental impacts when released

03/10/2015 The American Petroleum Institute is studying the properties of diluted bitumen (dilbit) and expects to develop findings about how oil sands crude b...

Dunn named president of Questar Pipeline

03/10/2015 Micheal Dunn has been named executive vice-president of Questar Corp., Salt Lake City, and president of the company’s interstate pipeline subsidiar...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices rebound to $50/bbl

03/10/2015 Crude oil futures settled higher on the New York market Mar. 9, and the contract for April delivery reached $50/bbl after falling sharply in previo...

Sasol takes more cost-cutting measures as oil prices stay low

03/09/2015 Sasol Ltd. hopes to cut $2.5-4.1 billion over a 30-month period, using Dec. 31 as the baseline, in response to what is describes as the “lower-for-...

Outlook for US industrial gas use trimmed

03/09/2015 Industrial demand for natural gas in the US will rise to 22.1 bcfd in 2020 from 19.8 bcfd in 2012, according to an updated analysis of projects in ...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected