Flint Hills, EPA, TCEQ announce air permit transition plan

Flint Hills Resources LP, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) agreed to a plan to convert four state air pollution permits to permits consistent with the federal Clean Air Act.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 25 -- Flint Hills Resources LP, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) agreed to a plan to convert four state air pollution permits to permits consistent with the federal Clean Air Act.

EPA and TCEQ released a four-step draft of the process at an Austin meeting in September, the federal regulator said. It said that Flint Hills, a Koch Industries Inc. chemical and refining subsidiary, proceeded to tailor the draft transition process to its four Texas facilities.

Under the process, Flint Hills’ permits which contain Texas Subchapter G flexible air permits will change to state implementation plan-approved permits consistent with the CAA, according to EPA. It said that the applications for the new permits will be implemented by TCEQ, which remains the primary air permitting authority in Texas; be reviewed by EPA; and be made available for public comment.

The effort began when EPA objected to a proposed minor revision of the Title V permit for Flint Hills’ East Refinery in Corpus Christi, Tex., said Bradley J. Razook, the Wichita, Kan., company’s president and chief executive. Koch acquired the plant from Kerr-McGee Corp. in 1995.

Razook said EPA objected to the incorporation of a flexible permit into the Title V permit; the incorporation by reference of underlying permits into the Title V permit; a length of time it considered inadequate for maintaining records under the general record keeping provision; and the identification of stationary vents in the Title V permit.

EPA said the transition process which was being announced, along with other changes to the refinery’s permit, resolve the agency’s objections, clear the way for TCEQ to act on the company’s permit applications, supply regulatory certainty for Flint Hills, and provide a way for the public to review permits the company will hold at its Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and Longview facilities. “It is our hope that the [Flint Hills] process will serve as a model for other companies seeking to transition to federally-approved permits,” EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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