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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Air Actions, California

Title V Air Permits in California

EPA’s Final Rule to return Title V Permit Program to 34 California Air Districts

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On September 22, 2003, the Governor of California signed SB 700, which revised state law to remove the agricultural air permitting exemption that had prompted EPA to partially withdraw the Title V Operating Permits Program from California. The legislation eliminates the exemption and therefore corrects the deficiency identified in EPA's May 22, 2002 Notice of Deficiency. Therefore, EPA has proposed to approve a revision to 34 California air district Title V programs because districts now have the authority to issue air permits to all major stationary sources, including those agricultural sources that were formerly exempt from Title V under former State law.

On November 13, 2003, the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 9 signed a final rule returning the Title V Operating Permit program to 34 California air districts. As a result of this rule, EPA will not issue any Title V Permits to agricultural sources, since the 34 air districts will have the authority to issue Title V Permits to major agricultural stationary sources beginning on January 1, 2004. These sources should inquire with the appropriate district to determine when their title V permit applications are due. Therefore, EPA is no longer requiring stationary agricultural sources to submit part 71 permit applications and the Agency has suspended the November 13, 2003 application deadlines. In addition, EPA's final rule also terminates the sanctions clock that had been started by our Notice of Deficiency.

Background: Settlement Agreement and Related Documents

In February of 2002, three separate coalitions of environmental and public interest groups filed appeals of EPA's final approval of the California Title V Air Permit Programs, alleging improper exemption of major agricultural sources from the requirements of title V.

The documents listed below relate to the settlement agreement EPA signed on May 14, 2002, resolving this challenge. (Press release, May 14, 2002; Settlement Agreement (PDF) (11 pp, 295K), May 14, 2002). The settlement agreement required EPA to propose a rule giving the Agency responsibility for ensuring that major agricultural sources of air pollution in California obtain Title V operating permits, where required by the Clean Air Act. EPA had this responsibility until California modified its state law, which had previously exempted large agricultural operations from the operating permit requirements.

EPA proposed the rule on July 24, 2002, and accepted comments until September 3, 2002.

The final rule to partially withdraw the permit program in California was published in the Federal Register on October 15, 2002 (Press Release, October 3, 2002; Federal Register Notice (PDF), October 15, 2002). This final rule partially withdrew approval of 34 Title V operating permits programs in California, and, effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, required EPA to implement a federal Part 71 operating permits program for major agricultural sources in the State.

Past EPA Rulemakings Related to the Settlement Agreement

December 7, 2001: Final Approval of 34 Operating Permits Programs in California (PDF)

For further information, please contact Gerardo Rios at (415) 972-3974 or rios.gerardo@epa.gov.

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