Have you seen the June 25, 2021 edition of the Texas Register? The TCEQ published changes to 30 TAC 116 (Chapter 116) that will allow a company to use the EPA’s “Project Emissions Accounting” (PEA) capability within the Major New Source Review (Major NSR – PSD and Nonattainment Review) applicability analysis. So, what is this PEA thing and why is it important? The PEA capability will allow a company to include both project increases and decreases within Step 1 of the Major NSR applicability analysis.
The Major NSR analysis involves a two-step process:
- Step 1 is an evaluation of project emission increases. Historically, if the emission increases associated with a project were equal to or greater than the contemporaneous netting trigger level, netting would be required. Only emission increases could be used in this step. If the proposed project also contained emission decreases, they would be relegated to Step 2.
- Step 2 is the netting analysis. This is the step where all contemporaneous emission increases and decreases (which occurred within five  years before the project), including decreases associated with the project under review, are added together. If the result of that evaluation, the net, is greater than or equal the major modification trigger level for the program and pollutant being evaluated (either PSD or Nonattainment Review), the Major NSR program is triggered.
The important distinction is this: before this rule change, a company in Texas could only include project emission increases within Step 1 of the Major NSR applicability analysis. After this rule change, those same project emission decreases that were historically relegated to Step 2 may now be included with project emission increases in Step 1. This means that a project could possibly avoid being a “major project” and avoid triggering the Step 2 netting analysis. The TCEQ also believes that this Major NSR applicability approach will provide incentives for source owners or operators to implement emission reductions as a part of a project under review. This Chapter 116 rule language becomes effective on July 1, 2021.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the PEA rule changes, please feel free to contact our subject matter experts here at Spirit. We will be more than glad to walk through this rule change with you and help with any projects that you may be currently working on or considering for the future.