White House advances New Source Review changes

Source: Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018

The White House budget office has wrapped up a review of a final EPA rule affecting “project aggregation” requirements under the agency’s New Source Review pre-construction permitting program.

The Office of Management and Budget’s regulatory affairs shop completed its review of the draft rule on Friday, three months after receiving it, according to the Reginfo.gov site (Greenwire, July 9). An EPA spokeswoman had no information this morning on when the final version is set to be signed and publicly released.

The rule would lock in the results of the agency’s reconsideration of a “final action” published in January 2009, shortly before President George W. Bush left office. The Obama EPA then stayed it from taking effect, pitching it into limbo.

By EPA’s definition, project aggregation refers to “the grouping of multiple, related physical or operational changes at a facility into a single project, such that their emission increases or decreases would be combined for purposes of determining NSR applicability.”

The 2009 rule would have required such changes to be grouped into a single project if they were “substantially related.” It also created a presumption against bunching projects together for regulatory purposes that occur three or more years apart, according to an agency summary. Still to be seen are what, if any, changes have now been made to that rule.

Lobbyists and other representatives of the oil and gas industry met with EPA and Office of Management and Budget staff in August, according to the Reginfo.gov site (E&E News PM, Aug. 23). As of this morning, the site, which tracks work by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, does not show any other meetings between federal officials and outside players related to the rule.