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July 16, 2015
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Karen Tommasulo, 517-284-6716, email@example.com
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The DEQ today released draft revisions to its Air Pollution Control Rules that reduce unnecessary permitting red tape while maintaining a key focus on protecting air quality.
The proposed new rules include criteria for defining Toxic Air Contaminants, resulting in a list of 756 air pollutants. This is a more expansive list than the U.S. EPA’s list of 187 and stronger than nearly any other state.
“This change better focuses our permitting process on the pollutants of most concern,” said DEQ Air Quality Division Chief Lynn Fiedler. “Our mission as an agency continues to be protecting public health while encouraging economic development.”
Air permits for companies in Michigan are crafted by teams of DEQ air quality experts, and each permit is tailored to address specific emissions at each site. The proposed rules allow the DEQ to continue examining any substance a company proposes to emit, whether it is on the toxics list or not, to achieve public health protection.
The proposed Toxic Air Contaminants list excludes low-toxicity non-carcinogens and other substances without scientific toxicity information. The DEQ will continue to add new substances to the list, as new science becomes available. The sharper focus allows staff to concentrate on regulating the most toxic chemicals.
These changes were developed in partnership with two stakeholder workgroups, including broad representation from environmental groups, business, industry and academia.
The draft rule revisions also include:
• Improved transparency and opportunities for public engagement
• Exemptions from the Toxic Air Contaminants regulations for engines that burn clean fuels and meet other requirements
• Clarification of an existing rule to simplify the permitting process for facilities making a modification that involves insignificant changes in Toxic Air Contaminants emissions
“These changes will drive a reasonable, environmentally protective regulatory process that supports economic development without limiting our ability to craft permits that meet state and federal law,” Fiedler said.
The proposed rule package now goes to the Office of Regulatory Reform. A public comment period and formal public hearing will be held before the final rules are sent to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for consideration.