Air Mail Newsletter for May 2015

Air Mail newsletter header

In this issue:

Regulatory updates

Now accepting applications for the Low-Emitting Facility General Permit


The Part 70 Low-Emitting Facility General Permit was officially issued on April 30, 2015. The MPCA is currently accepting applications for this permit. The finalized application forms are now available at the Low-Emitting Facility General Permit webpage.

Enforcement amnesty for eligible facilities


For facilities that are eligible to apply for the Part 70 Low-Emitting Facility Permit, the MPCA is waiving enforcement action related to not having an air permit. This enforcement amnesty is offered to any facility that is operating without a permit, qualifies for the General Permit, and submits a complete application by no later than April 30, 2016.

Who may want to apply?


This permit may be a good option for facilities that have been operating without a permit; can comply with the low emission limits of the General Permit, which are half the registration permit limits; and either:


  • Have exceeded Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) thresholds for criteria pollutants and need Best Available Control Technology (BACT)-equivalent limits in their permit; or
  • Have exceeded hazardous air pollutant emissions thresholds and are subject to a major source National Emission Standard(s) for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP); or
  • Need a Part 70 permit and/or cannot qualify for a registration permit.

Assistance and information


Further information specific to the General Permit can be found at the Low-Emitting Facility General Permit webpage.  The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program webpage has many resources for businesses. The Small Business Assistance team can provide assistance in determining what type of permit your facility may need and can assist in determining your facility’s eligibility for the Low-Emitting General Permit as well as provide limited assistance in completing the permit application forms for the General Permit.


Request for opinions regarding the air permitting webpage


Do you frequently use the MPCA’s air permits and forms webpage?  If so, do you have any opinions, issues, concerns, or suggestions regarding this page?


The MPCA’s air permitting section is in the process of gathering information with the goal of making our webpage more accessible. We would like to learn of any recurring problems from outside users. If you would like to share your thoughts about what you like or don’t like about the webpage, send an email to

Updates to Air Emissions Risk Analysis (AERA)

AERA web

The MPCA uses Air Emissions Risk Analysis (AERA) for air toxics risk assessment needed to review facility air toxics emissions. This process is outlined in a guidance document available on the MPCA’s website.



The AERA webpages, AERA guidance, related forms, and AERA tools (RASS and Q over CHI) have been updated as of April 2015. The AERA guide is now both web-based and available as a PDF for download. The updated AERA guidance reflects process improvements since the first edition of the AERA guidance released in 2007.

Just released: Minnesota Air Toxics Monitoring web app

toxics app


The Minnesota Air Toxics Monitoring web app provides interactive access to annual air toxics monitoring summary results for over 70 air pollutants measured at monitoring sites across Minnesota between 2002 and 2013.  Using interactive maps, charts and data tables, the app allows users to explore how concentrations air toxic pollutants vary over space and time. Data from 2014 is expected to be added to the app in late May, with subsequent annual updates occurring each spring.  


The Minnesota Air Toxics Monitoring web app is now available on the MPCA’s website.

New financing program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects


Minnesota has an exciting new program called Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) that is helping businesses pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to reduce energy use in commercial buildings. PACE reduces the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing for energy-saving measures pursued by commercial property owners.  The financing is then repaid as a separate item on their property tax assessments for a set period.


The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs)are helping get the word out about the PACE program and have created a new webpage dedicated to the most up-to-date information on PACE programs in Minnesota, including stories about companies across the state that have already taken advantage of PACE and a map of participating cities and counties.


Visit the PACE website to learn more!


Clean Power Plan in Minnesota


In June 2014, the U.S. EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule aiming to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30% from 2005 levels. The proposed EPA rule sets state-specific carbon dioxide emission targets and requires the states to submit plans detailing their strategies for meeting the targets.


Although the EPA has not yet finalized the CPP, initial state plans are expected to be due by summer 2016. In an effort to be ready to meet that deadline, the MPCA has begun assessing potential pathways for complying with the anticipated guidelines. Our state plan will consider carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-burning facilities, low- or zero-carbon methods for producing electricity, and ways to reduce consumer demand for electricity in order to achieve necessary emissions reductions while supporting reliable, affordable power for all Minnesotans.


The MPCA has not yet started drafting a plan because the EPA has not yet published the standards that Minnesota’s plan will need to meet. MPCA staff are conducting ongoing discussion with stakeholders to help guide our considerations of ways to meet the anticipated CPP targets, as well as any other objectives that the state’s plan might include. Specific topics of discussion include:


  • Environmental results
  • Electricity system impact (e.g., fuel diversity, renewable energy and energy efficiency, effects on existing electric infrastructure)
  • Federal enforceability while assuring state control over compliance
  • Flexibility for regulated entities and methods to capture reductions from all sources
  • Multistate approach (or what will be required to make a state plan “trading ready”)
  • Equity considerations across regulated entities—distribution, etc.
  • Impact on communities of environmental-justice concern—minority populations, neighborhoods bearing disproportionate financial or environmental burdens, etc.
  • Cost and reliability


The EPA plans to finalize the CPP, and also propose a federal implementation plan for states who fail to submit their own plans, in summer 2015.


For more information, or to sign up to receive email updates on the MPCA’s work on the plan, please visit our CPP website.

New website on climate change in Minnesota



The rapid pace of climate change is affecting how we work, live and play. The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, in collaboration with its member agencies, has launched a website about how climate change is impacting Minnesota and how communities around the state are responding. We are developing cleaner energy, reducing waste, lowering emissions, and protecting our natural resources. Get started here to find out more about what Minnesotans are doing and how we can take it to the next level.

Air Quality mini-course in St. Paul elementary school

Mini course


Horace Mann Elementary School in St. Paul runs a program called “mini-courses,” where adults (parents, grandparents, volunteers, etc.) spend three one-hour sessions with small groups of kids in the 4th grade who have an interest in a certain subject area.  Twice in the past year Helen Waquiu and Kristie Ellickson of the MPCA taught a mini-course on air pollution.


The kids studied moving air (wind) and measured it (fast or slow and from what direction) using their fingers, bubbles, and the “smoke” from a dragon puffer. They were introduced to air pollution topics by playing the EPA’s Clean Air Kids video games and looking for high Air Quality Index (AQI) days in MN on the MPCA AQI website. The next week, the kids audited a fine particle monitor (it passed both times), filled out an audit form, and signed a real log book to become a part of the MPCA’s permanent air quality monitoring program records. They made real-time fine particle measurements using an Air Beam Sensor synched to a cell phone: being in the 4th grade, they tested emissions from their feet and armpits, and, upon teacher suggestion, tested running around in the sand and an idling vehicle. In the final week, the kids learned about different air pollution sources by doing an experiment, playing The Clean Air Game board game, and playing rummy with “air pollutant villain” trading cards.


If you are interested in using the lesson plans and activities, please contact Kristie Ellickson.

Community Air Monitoring Project



The Community Air Monitoring Project (CAMP) uses funding from the 2013 Minnesota Legislature to do short-term air quality monitoring in selected Minnesota neighborhoods.  The objective is to monitor and assess air quality in low-income neighborhoods or communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution emissions from highways, air traffic, or industrial sources.  The monitor is moved every three months, with monitoring results posted to the CAMP website after the data has been quality assured and analyzed.



Since starting the project in October 2013, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has completed monitoring at six neighborhood sites.  The CAMP monitor is now located in its seventh community: the Payne Phalen community in St. Paul.  The MPCA will be monitoring in this community from April 1st to June 30th, 2015.



For more information on the Community Air Monitoring Project, please visit the CAMP website or call either 651-296-6300 or 800-657-3864 and ask for air data analysis staff.  More information about the MPCA’s air monitoring program is available on the MPCA website.

2015 Air Quality Awareness Week


The theme of the 2015 National Air Quality Awareness Week from April 27 to May 1 was “What’s your air quality IQ?” The EPA and its partners used the week to get out important information about air quality and health and promote better understanding of what people can do to improve their environment and protect their health.  For more information, visit the EPA’s website.