EPA revises gas compressor rule

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) Thursday lauded the Environmental Protection Agency's revisions to a plan to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. A court ruled EPA's original plan failed to give notice of a requirement that gas pipeline compressors reduce NOx emissions by 90% in 2007.

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) said Thursday it is pleased with the Environmental Protection Agency's revisions to a 22-state plan to reduce utility and industrial nitrogen oxide emissions.

The revisions appeared on EPA's web site this week. They answer a review of the plan ordered by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last March. The court had said EPA's state implementation plans (SIPs) on NOx reduction had failed to give adequate notice of an 11th-hour requirement that natural gas pipeline compressor engines reduce NOx emissions by 90% in 2007, using selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

EPA had included the requirement in the rule, known as the "SIP call," intended to reduce interstate transport of ground-level ozone, but INGAA contended it could cost the pipeline industry $4 billion and therefore should be fully debated before taking effect.

INGAA said in the new "SIP call" proposal, EPA agrees with the pipeline industry that SCR technology does not achieve 90% emissions reductions in natural gas pipeline applications, and that low-emission combustion technology is a proven, readily available technology to reduce NOx emissions.

"Low-emission combustion technology can help achieve the desired NOx emissions rates so the natural gas industry can play its part in helping states reach emissions reduction goals," said Lisa Beal, INGAA's director of environmental affairs.

"This is a well-thought-out rule that recognizes how important natural gas is in meeting our clean air goals," Beal said. "We encourage EPA to move quickly to finalize this rule so that the states will have all the tools available to clean up their air. We hope to continue working with EPA and the states on these issues in the future."

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