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Opportunity to provide input on rulemaking for nonattainment new source review permitting
Posted: 11/30/2012
The Iowa DNR invites the public to provide informal input on an upcoming rulemaking.

Purpose of the Rule Changes

The proposed rulemaking will adopt EPA’s nonattainment new source review (NSR) regulations (40 CFR Part 51.165) for air construction projects in nonattainment areas. The nonattainment NSR program is mandated by part D of Title I of the Clean Air Act and is a preconstruction review and permitting program applicable to new or modified major stationary sources of air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act that are located in nonattainment areas. Nonattainment areas are areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for one or more pollutants. Currently a portion of Council Bluffs is a designated nonattainment area for lead. 

Summary of Rule Changes

EPA’s nonattainment NSR rules will apply for areas designated nonattainment on or after May 18, 1998, and are proposed to be placed in Chapter 31. The federal regulations include many instructions to the States that could be confusing for businesses if the federal regulations were adopted by directly referencing the federal regulations. The department proposes to adopt the bulk of the revised nonattainment rules into Chapter 31 and refer to actual plantwide applicability limits (40 CFR 51.165(f)) by reference.

The department will retain previously adopted requirements for nonattainment areas in rule 22.5 for areas designated nonattainment prior to May 18, 1998. Retaining rule 22.5 will make the department’s existing nonattainment NSR rules no more or less stringent than the rules in 40 CFR 51.165 based on the federal regulations that were in effect when an area was designated nonattainment. 

The proposed rulemaking updates references to nonattainment NSR in many areas of 567 Iowa Administrative Code Chapters 20, 22, 31 and 33. A reference to an outdated federal guidance document is proposed to be removed. The list of nonattainment areas in Iowa is also proposed to be updated. Redundant language in Chapter 31 would also be removed.

When the Proposed Rules Would Be Used

These requirements apply only to specific major source permitting in nonattainment areas. Facilities in an area designated as nonattainment with modifications or new projects that meet nonattainment pollutant-specific emissions thresholds will have to comply with the permitting requirements such as lowest achievable emission rate (LAER) and offsets. LAER requires the installation of the most stringent emission limitation achievable. Offsets are emission reductions from the facility or neighboring sources which must offset the emissions increase and provide a net air quality benefit in the affected nonattainment area. 

Major sources located near the nonattainment area that may significantly contribute to air quality violations in the nonattainment area would also be required to reduce the impact of their emissions on the nonattainment area if they undertake modifications or new projects that meet pollutant-specific emissions thresholds.

Information available for review

The proposed rule is available by clicking here or by going to, clicking on Stakeholder Involvement, and then Public Input. The information is listed under the “Administrative Rules” header. 

How to Provide Input

Informal comments or suggestions may be provided to Wendy Walker, Iowa DNR Air Quality Bureau, until December 14, 2012, as follows: 

Fax: (515) 242-5094
Mail or Hand-delivery: DNR Air Quality Bureau, 7900 Hickman Road, Suite 1, Windsor Heights, Iowa, 50324

For questions, please contact Wendy Walker at the e-mail address noted above or by phone at (515) 281-6061.

This list serve article is intended for consultants, industries, environmental groups, general public, and other entities regulated under the Clean Air Act. It was written by the DNR Air Quality Bureau to share regulatory news, program updates and technical guidance.