On April 19, 1996, U.S. EPA published a proposed rule, called the MACT rule, under the joint authority of the RCRA and the CAA, to upgrade the emission standards for HWCs. Specifically, this rule will affect incinerators, cement kilns, and lightweight aggregate kilns. It proposes emission standards for dioxins, furans, mercury, cadmium, lead, PM, hydrochloric acid, chlorine,
hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and several low-volatile metals. U.S. EPA plans to address boilers and other industrial furnaces in another rulemaking. This rule fulfills U.S. EPA's commitment to upgrade emission standards as stated in its 1994 Strategy for Hazardous Waste Minimization and Combustion.
On June 19, 1998, U.S. EPA finalized the first phase of the MACT rule. This final rule includes the comparable fuels exclusion and amendments to the permit modification procedures for combustion facilities.
Many combustion facilities operating under RCRA permits will need to modify their permits in order to comply with the MACT emission standards. The old permit modification procedures are time consuming and may hinder facilities from meeting the three-year compliance deadline established by the CAA. To facilitate meeting the deadline, U.S. EPA revised the RCRA permit modification procedures to explicitly address changes to a facility's design or operations that are necessary to comply with the MACT standards. U.S. EPA designated such changes as Class 1 modifications that require prior Agency approval. It also incorporated a time default of 90 days, with a possible one-time 30-day extension, for the permitting agency to make a decision about the requested modification. If the Agency fails to make a decision within the default time frame, the permittee may consider the request approved. In authorized states, owners and operators of facilities subject to the MACT standards will only be able to take advantage of the revised permit modification procedures if the state has become authorized for the revised modification provisions.
Interim status combustion facilities subject to the MACT standards also have to meet the three-year deadline. Interim status facilities are allowed to implement certain facility changes if the changes do not amount to reconstruction. To ensure that the reconstruction clause does not present an obstacle for interim status facilities trying to implement changes to meet the new MACT emissions levels, U.S. EPA exempted changes necessary to comply with the MACT standards from the reconstruction limit.
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