Air Quality Planning and Standards
Air Permit Programs
This web site provides information and links on the three major permit programs required by the Clean Air Act:
- acid rain permits (called Title IV permits),
- preconstruction permits (called New Source Review permits), and
- operating permits (called Title V permits).
Each year in the U.S., industrial operations emit nearly 100 million tons of pollutants into the air. These include pollutants that make breathing difficult, form urban smog, impair visibility, and attack ecosystems. Some of these pollutants can cause cancer or other serious health effects. Some of the many pollutants emitted into the air each year are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides, carbon monoxide, benzene, mercury and dioxin. Many of the sources of this air pollution are large facilities, such as petroleum refineries and chemical plants, that can have literally thousands of potential emission points. Other pollution sources can be smaller, such as gasoline filling stations, dry cleaning operations, and paint spray booths. Several of these air pollution sources, particularly the larger sources, are required by federal measures to reduce emissions and to obtain air pollution permits to ensure compliance.
The acid rain program is a market-based system designed to lower sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide pollution levels. Reductions in emissions are obtained through a program of emission allowances. The allowance hat each facility owns must be reflected in its acid rain permit, which also includes emissions monitoring and other requirements.
The new source review program requires that industrial sources install good pollution control technology when they construct or significantly modify their facilities.
The operating permit program requires that major industrial sources and certain other sources obtain a permit that consolidates all of the applicable requirements for the facility into one document. The purpose of title V permits is to reduce violations of air pollution laws and improve enforcement of those laws.